Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom,
the moon only when it is cloudless?
To long for the moon while looking on the rain,
to lower the blinds and be unaware
of the passing of the spring –
these are even more deeply moving.
Branches about to blossom
or gardens strewn with flowers
are worthier of our admiration.
Beauty, to the Japanese of old, held together the ephemeral with the sacred. Cherry blossoms are most beautiful as they fall, and that experience of appreciation lead the Japanese to consider their mortality. Hakanai bi (ephemeral beauty) denotes sadness, and yet in the awareness of the pathos of life, the Japanese found profound beauty.
For the Japanese, the sense of beauty is deeply tragic, tied to the inevitability of death.
Jesus’ tears were also ephemeral and beautiful. His tears remain with us as an enduring reminder of the Savior who weeps. Rather than to despair, though, Jesus’ tears lead the way to the greatest hope of the resurrection. Rather than suicide, Jesus’ tears lead to abundant life.
Again today I will see patients in my clinic who are struggling with depression, who are contemplating whether living another day is worth the pain and effort. Most describe their feelings completely dry-eyed, unwilling to let their emotions flow from inside and flood their outsides. Others sit soaking in tears of hopelessness and despair.
Their weeping moves and reassures me — it is a raw and authentic spilling over when the internal dam is breaking. It is so human, yet we know tears contain the divine.
When I read that Jesus weeps as He witnesses the tears of grief of His dear friends, I am comforted. He understands and feels what we feel, His tears just as plentiful and salty, His overwhelming feelings of love brimming so full they must be let go and cannot be held back.
Our Jesus who wept with us became a promise of ultimate joy.
There is beauty in this, His rain of tears, the spilling of the divine onto our mortal soil.
A fallen blossom
Returning to the bough, I thought –
But no, a butterfly.
~Arakida Moritake (1473-1549)