The Tear Jar…..

It’s called a lachrymatory, or a tear jar . It is ” a tear jar or tear vase.”

I have heard about tear jars before, and if I search on Etsy, or on the Internet, there are lots of versions of this concept. Some are large, and kinda crafty looking, while others are like this image. This is an antique tear jar.

This week it was so impactful to me, about the importance of our tears. Tears are precious outcries that can come from a variety of places. We cry tears from loss, frustration, despair, anger, joy and sorrow. So many emotions can lead to tears. Tears are not to be diminished.

So this thought just fell out of my head. The musical group that I used to listen to in my high school years, ” Tears for fears.” Their song that resonated with me was ” Shout”. I never thought about the name of their group until this very second, …tears for fears… how appropriate.

“Shout, shout let it all out. These are the things I can do without. Come on, I’m talking to you, come on”

It is intriguing to realize that the plethora of all of our miscellaneous and combined emotions can produce tears. I often was so provoked at myself for crying tears at the happy and celebratory times in life. I couldn’t figure out why I was crying when I was so happy.

Why am I crying when the bride is positioned at the doorway ready to take her first few steps down the decorated isle towards her intended groom to soon be? There is a catch in my throat, I can’t breathe in that sacred moment as I glance back and forth toward the bride and groom, and sense the palpable gorgeous tension in the air, as they move to greet each other. Often the groom cries as he takes his first glance of the incredible beauty of his betrothed bride adorned, and looking radiant on this her prepared for wedding day.

There is this expectation of hope, and the culmination of many efforts that brought the couple to this place . There is often months and even years of planning to get to the wedding day. Watching people in love makes me cry. It is glorious to behold, and I want to be around it. There are “feel good” feelings. We all desire to be loved. It’s as necessary as oxygen, to know that somebody cares, and that there is someone who loves you enough to cry when they are not with you.

I’m learning about these tear jars, and find them fascinating.

Women in ancient years would collect their tears, often when their husbands would go off to war, then when their loved ones returned, they would pour these tears out to show those they loved how devout and profound their love was for them . Their tears showed tangibly how much they cared. They would hold this jar up to their eyes, and collect the tears. Tears are like priceless perfume.

“Tears are made up of water, electrolytes, proteins, lipids and mucins that form layers on the surface of the eyes. There are different types of tears. They are basal, reflex and emotional.”

I did not know there were different types of tears. The human body never ceases to amaze. Lately I have had some difficulty with my eyes getting irritated, and dry. It was recommended that I start using some “liquid tears” to keep my eyes comfortable . I would have thought my tears would would be doing that . Oh the fun of growing older . Lets not talk about how my “readers” are needing to increase magnification as the years slip by . I love my ” peepers” but also hate them. If you didn’t know “Peepers” are a brand of magnified reading glasses. I highly recommend. Thus far, I have dropped them a multiple of times, and they have stayed intact. I’m sat on them too on numerous occasions. They seem to be kinda indestructible .

” The function of tears include lubricating the eyes( basal tears), and removing irritants, (reflex tears), and aiding the immune system. Tears also occur as part of the body’s’ natural pain response. Emotional secretion of tears may serve a biological function by excreting stress inducing hormones built up through times of emotional stress. Tears have symbolic significance among humans.”

” the lacrimal duct in our bodies produces our tears.”

I have often thought how annoying tears can be. Making the mascara and eyeliner run, and for some inexplicable reason, we can become embarrassed by our tears. Why is this? Does crying make others uncomfortable? Tears are not shameful, and yet for some crying is next near to impossible . They don’t allow themselves to cry . Perhaps there is the fear that once the eyes moisten, and the tiny droplets fall like gentle rain down our cheeks, there will be no stopping them .

Once those tear ducts open up, and the water begins to flow, they will become a tumultuous river that rages, and there will be no emptying of the sorrow. It will never end. Will our tears dry up?

Crying plugs your nose, makes the snot flow out too. This is ” ugly crying,” when you wail, and sometimes scream with sorrow. It’s necessary with grief. When there are no words to explain the way you feel, this type of crying needs to happen. It can give you a headache, and it does make your face red as a Macintosh crisp apple. Macs are my favorite.. I digress.

Spending time with friends recently, we shared tears and sorrow, and shock realizing that the end of a sacred family member is drawing ever closer. It’s difficult to put into words how tearing up it is when your prayers have been uttered, your pleading that they could stay with you on earth a little longer has been cried , and resolution and surrender comes knowing there is much that is beyond our grasp to control.

If love for another could make them stay, there would be no good byes.

My late Mum said to me in those last weeks of her life,

” I don’t want to say good bye.”

I responded with choked back tears of emotions,

” I know Mum.. me neither.”

We never want to be parted from those we love.. it’s unnatural .

In Psalm 56:8, it says …

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

” The concept of God keeping David’s tears in a bottle comes from the ancient practice of lachrymatories as ” there is an allusion here to the custom of collecting tears shed in a time of calamity and sorrow and preserving them…as a memorial of the grief.”

How about when a baby is born . When you see that scrunched and puckered up face, with the misshapen head fresh life make its grand arrival , one of the first things we wait to hear is the sound of those first cries. And so it begins. The baby cries to let us know he/she is here, and often our response is to cry right along with them . Tears are a part of life . They are honorable and important . Cries in death and cries in life . It’s all a part of what makes us human.

Wait.. do animals cry? I need to research this. Apparently animals do create tears, but it is thought that it is only to moisten their eyes. We know that animals feel emotions, as we can see it in their eyes. There is a new study that states that dogs do cry emotional tears. No wonder we love them like we do. Cats.. who knows if they cry?

If you see someone crying, even as you meet their eyes and share in the experience with them, there is connection, understanding. Even if you don’t know them, there is shared humanity in sharing tears.

Tears are nothing to be afraid of.

” A tear jar represents the collective, sum total of a woman’s grief and sorrow.”(“Jesus and Women” by Kristi Mclelland .)

Imagine my surprise when I found this Bible this past weekend in the side drawer at the Mariott Hotel . Yup those Gideons still have placed these here. I thought about stealing it, then reprimanded myself for those thoughts. It prompted me to read the story in the Bible about Gideon.

Tears were shed…

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