Thank you, Spirit, for videos of people dancing, children laughing, flowers blooming, dogs and cats cuddling, skies changing, and musicians bringing music out of themselves just so we can hear it. I cry with relief and hope and privilege and so many other things, too—feeling the release of longing and loving in my tears. I move from joy to grief, back and forth, back and forth, swinging gently in Your arms. But for so long, Spirit, I was trapped in my worry and pain about this wide world, tap-tapping my focus down to my one small life like an online map search. For too long the love and joy that persists everywhere had nowhere to go for celebration. Crying seemed a misstep in times like these. Weeping was worse. Sobbing and bawling was tasteless. Whimpering was an irritant to all concerned. And snivelling was just not an option, ever. There’s been a lot of shame for me about tears—tears that could better mean I am brushing up against Your love for us in sacred joy and holy sorrow. For sometimes the great goodness in a living creature overwhelms me with the promise of Your wondrous world. And sometimes the heartaches of those I will never meet make a home in me anyway because they feel like Yours, too. Longing and love. Joy and sorrow. And so many other words, too. But sometimes my prayer is only tears, Spirit. Maybe they be enough.

Diane Strickland is in her 33rd year as an ordained minister now serving in The United Church of Canada as retired clergy. She is a Certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue Specialist-Therapist, Critical Incident Responder, author and creator of Trauma Informed Resources.

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