We could always be found running in the halls of the church I grew up in . The smelly, dingy 2nd floor was a place that I spent many a Wednesday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night growing up. The carpet was coarse under my feet, the air was hot and thick, the chairs squeaked, and the tables weighed 139 pounds if you had to move them. Prayer requests were written on a white board in front of us, a map of the world was tacked to the wall next to us, and it was in our youth room that Mrs. Karen taught me how to cry.
It used to be a joke… how far could we get into an Acteens meeting or “Sunday Night Alive” before Mrs. Karen would shed a tear, or a whole bucket of them. Sometimes, we’d go the whole night. Sometimes, we’d make it approximately 4 minutes. Either way, Mrs. Karen cried beautifully… and it never meant anything to me until here recently.
You see, Mrs. Karen is someone I think of fondly and often. Back in those awkward Middle School years, and those trying times in High School, Mrs. Karen was always there to offer a good word, some solid encouragment, and yes, tears.
Now that I’m older and I’m volunteering with a Youth Group of my own, I can look back and realize why she cried. She cried because life is beautiful, and she gave her heart to us as though it was all she had to give. She got down on her knees for us and went to battle for us in the heavenly realms so that we too would know the God that she personally loved. She was happy for us when life gave us all good reasons to be, and she cried with us (and for us) when it was all so much to bear.
Mrs. Karen taught me how to cry. And being a Mrs. Karen crying prodegy is perfectly fine with me.
Sometimes life throws us curve balls. Sometimes things don’t go the way we expect them to, and then sometimes they do. In either of these instances, you can probably find me crying my way through it. I cry when life is hard. I cry when life is beautiful. I cry because I can, and I cry because it’s healthy. I cry when I have a headache (and then sometimes I get a headache because I’m crying). I cry when I hear song lyrics that touch my heart. I cry when Grey’s Anatomy gives me a reason to… (okay, in that instance, I’m usually sobbing.)
I’ve cried a lot lately because my heart hurts for people. People in my life that are going through some really tough things. I’ve cried because I’m happy for these youth that I’ve grown to love in this past year who are moving to college to start a new adventure. This makes me feel the closest to Mrs. Karen, because I know she cried the same tears for me in my big moments in life.
I’ve cried a lot this week. Good tears and happy tears, sad tears and hard tears. And it’s all healthy. It’s an expression of what I’m feeling in my heart at that very moment.
As I ate brunch with one of the best people in my life, I had to wipe away some tears because he was speaking some incredible truth and wisdom into my life that I really needed to hear. I’m thankful for those moments where people let me be who I am, whether it’s a strong-willed lover of life, or a sappy mess of a girl. (Thank you.)
Mrs. Karen taught me how to cry… and that’s a gift I will always be grateful for.
“She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short.” – Brian Andreas