A coworker makes a funny comment that tickles me. I sit before him as tears of laughter roll into tears of overwhelming release from an incredibly stressful year. I am too stunned to be embarrassed. I rarely cry, especially in front of another – it is not my natural bent of expression. But today, my expression comes without my permission. Thankfully, my coworker handles it graciously. Rather, he handles me with grace.
We have all heard the saying, "I laughed until I cried." There are days we do not comprehend the emotional stress we are under until a release presents itself. Today, I laughed until I wept. I could hardly distinguish the shift. I went from smiling to covering my face with my hands.
The tears formed the same shape in each drop, but their contents were starkly different. It was as if invisible ink spilled down my face and kissed my lips – I could taste the words and wounds of my soul.
The light and merry laughter moments earlier gave way to a neglected heaviness beneath the surface – a silenced exhaustion that has accompanied me for much too long. So long, in fact, that I have become comfortable being uncomfortable.
I did not realize I was walking the last few months with an emotional limp. Letdowns and challenges have stacked upon themselves; as one issue resolves, it seems two more take its place. My hope has thinned along with my energy and enthusiasm. I have become disenchanted with people’s intentions and frustrated with my limitations. And as the tears fell into the blindfold of my palms, I began to clearly see what I have allowed myself to become.
I have spent too much time collecting jagged remnants of wearisome circumstances - some created by others, self, and my vivid imagination. I have carried around these remnants in a jar that requires both hands to carry. I have cut myself revisiting wrongs, disappointments, and worries. With both hands managing my jar of irritations, I have impeded my ability to recognize blessings and to be a blessing.
It is time to put down the jar and pick up my cross. I need to put to rest my unease and disappointment and give my hands and heart to serve and surrender to His will. I need to die to self and my limitations and rise in Christ into His limitless love and strength. I cannot complain and have bright and bold faith at the same time – I must choose.
"Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).
That evening, I sit on my old white rocker on the back porch and stare into complete blackness. I cannot make out the ground from the trees, nor the trees from the sky – it is an inkwell, and I slowly rock waiting for God to dip into the night and write something upon my heart.
With each gentle sway of the chair, a cursive tear spills down my face and kisses my lips – I taste the word He writes with grace upon my soul: MINE.
I cry until I smile. "Yes, Lord," I whisper. "Yes. I am Yours. You over me, Lord. You over me."
2020 continues to be a challenging year for most. May we offer grace to ourselves and others as we take up our cross and follow Jesus.
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.