Tasting Another’s Tears
As I review the tastes of my day, though I had a pretty terrific salad for lunch—poached pear and chicken—the flavor of conversation at lunch was even better. I met with the daughter of my friend, Laurie, who passed away from cancer at the end of August. We had such a sweet time and it was good for me to be able to talk with Liz about her mom.
There were moments in the conversation when one or the other of us would tear up from a memory of Laurie or just the ache of missing her. When Liz’s beautiful eyes would puddle over, I felt invited to taste her tears, to enter into her grief just a bit and understand what it is like for her to live without her mom.
I suppose the word that best describes this experience is empathy—the experience of tasting another’s tears or pain. When we empathize, we take in to ourselves the grief or hurt another is feeling, like taking in food that we taste. It enters us and we absorb it into our bodies.
I remember a few years ago, falling asleep with tears streaming down the sides of my face because of my own cancer scare. I layed there in the dark crying as I thought about what it would be like for David and the kids if I died. The next morning, I read Psalm 56:8, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.You have recorded each one in your book.”
Why would God collect our tears in a bottle? To remember them. To taste them as he enters into our grief with us. Because we matter to him and so what hurts us matters to him. What is it like for you to imagine him tasting your tears?