These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time.
~Richard Wilbur from “Year’s End”
Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go next.
I’m not paying close enough attention if I’m too busy looking for kleenex. It seems the last couple weeks I have had more than ample opportunity to find out the secret of who I am, where I have come from and where I am to be next, and I’m loading my pockets with kleenex, just in case.
It mostly has to do with welcoming our children, their spouses and their friends back home for the holidays to become a full out noisy messy chaotic household again, with lots of music and laughter and laundry and meal preparation. It is about singing grace together before a meal and choking on precious words of gratitude. It certainly has to do with bidding farewell again, as we begin to do a few hours from now and, to gather them in for the hug and then unclasping and letting go, urging and encouraging them to go where their hearts are telling them they are needed and called to be. I too was let go once and though I would try to look back, too often in tears, I knew to set my face toward the future. It led me here, to this farm, this marriage, this family, this work, to more tears, to more letting go, as it will continue if I live long enough to weep again and again with gusto and grace.
This is where I should go next: to love so much and so deeply that letting go is so hard that tears are no longer unexpected or a mystery to me. They release the fullness that can no longer be contained: God’s still small voice spilling down my cheeks drop by drop like wax from a burning candle. No kleenex needed. Let it flow.