End of the Year Tears


Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet new fallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.

Let us step outside for a moment.
It is all there
Only we have been slow to arrive
At a way of seeing it.
Unless the gentle inherit the earth
There will be no earth.
~May Sarton from “New Year Poem”

photo by Nate Gibson

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.
~Frederick Buechner


I don’t pay close enough attention to the meaning of my leaking eyes when I’m looking for kleenex to stem the flow.  During the holidays it seems I have more than ample opportunity to find out from my tears the secret of who I am, where I have come from and where I am to be next, so I keep my pockets loaded with kleenex.

It mostly has to do with welcoming family members back home for the holidays to become a full out noisy messy chaotic household again, with puzzles and games and 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 as we did yet again this morning, gathering them in for that final hug and then that letting-go part.

We urge and encourage them to go where their hearts are telling them they are needed and called to be, even thousands of miles away from their one-time home on the farm.

I too was let go once and though I would try to look back, too often in tears, I learned to set my face toward the future.  It led me here, to this marriage, this family, this farm, this work, our church, to more tears, to more letting go, as it will continue if granted the years to weep again and again with gusto and grace.

This is where I will 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 or my children.   They release a fullness that can no longer be contained: God’s still small voice spills down my cheeks drop by drop like wax from a burning candle.

No kleenex needed with these tears.

Let them flow as I let them go.


16 thoughts on “End of the Year Tears

  1. The imagery in your writing leaves me sighing with both a smile and tears, especially with the candle comparison. You make me feel at home! Happy New Year and God bless!


  2. Thank you, Emily, for sweet and sometimes sad memories of times and tears past. Your posts continue to
    provide healing for me and for those with whom I share your love and wisdom. This is what we must do for
    each other. That is what He wanted us to do.


  3. Very special post indeed. And I look forward to the flowing of tears again. My heart hasn’t yet truly released them since my dear Eli passed. Very strange to say the least. Hugs and best wishes for 2017!


  4. The tears fall pretty regularly for all sorts of reasons. I try to track their source and often know immediately where they are coming from. It’s figuring out the unknown reasons and where God is leading me through them that is a privilege and a gift of mystery. You are such an important part of my day – looking at and reading your words and the wisdom of others. Thank you, Emily, for helping us through the tough parts of 2017 by reflecting God’s words of hope and incorporating your beautiful voice. All the best in 2017!


  5. Emily, not sure even how to respond. Your tears are my tears are God’s tears. To be bereft is, I think, the only way to become one with God.

    Liked by 1 person

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