Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4, RSV
I can’t honestly say I’m the hugest fan of the Bible, to be honest. I respect it a lot – while it’s not really an accurate retelling of history, it’s one of the densest repositories of spiritual lessons and teachings ever recorded. It’s not the only source of truth, and I don’t believe it’s the written word of God. But it is a written word of God, and deserves to be taken seriously.
One of the amazing things about the Bible, in my opinion, is that it has a beginning, a middle, a climax, and an end. The very first words are “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. And then it proceeds throughout history, towards an escatology at the end, where all of the brokenness of the world he created (for some reason) has been finally taken down. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”.
That section I quoted is one of my favorites. The Bible has a few overarching themes, but one of the greatest is liberation. And at the end, the world is finally liberated from death, and pain, and all of the things that lay us raw and make life as terrible as it is.
This isn’t intended to be a treatise on the Bible, though. I’m just using it to start this post.
I’m tired of tears.
Tears really are an interesting part of the human experience. I read a webcomic once that was entirely forgettable, but it did have one saying that’s stuck with me, “Crying is like puking for the soul”. I have yet to find a better description. Sometimes things get to be too much, and you just kind of feel it welling up, you cry for a little bit, and you feel just a little bit better. Maybe the irritant is still there, but it just makes it possible to get up and keep moving, even when you don’t feel like it. And there are different kinds, too. Sometimes it’s the quiet, simple kind – like a Hawaiian volcano that comes out easily and then the lava just moves on. And sometimes there’s the explosive type, like Krakatoa, which comes suddenly and violently, and you spend half an hour or even longer just erupting until you literally have nothing left. Those are the kind that leave you exhausted for days and you just have to recover. And there are types in between too.
If I sound way too familiar with this, it’s because I am.
Tears come from so many things. From pain, from loss, from hurt, from rejection, sometimes even from happiness (though I’ve never really understood that, tbh). And they are all things that shouldn’t be. We know they shouldn’t be, something deep inside us cries and screams and rages against the fact that tears even exist. They shouldn’t. It’s not so much that we want comfort and happiness and all that kind of thing, but we want a world in which no one has to cry.
But we don’t live in that world.
It’s one of the first things we do, too. Does a baby cry in the womb? I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of it. I’m not even sure it’s possible. They express annoyance, I guess, by kicking, but unless you get a selfish woman who thinks a baby is a bunch of cells, it’s safe and happy in there, nurtured, with everything it needs. It doesn’t even really have a concept of an outside world that could hurt them. Then they’re pushed out of their safety, into bright lights and other people and probably awful smells. Wouldn’t you cry too? You probably did! And then they cry, and they cry, because it’s all they have! Feed me! I need food! I need love! I need! I need!
And does that really ever go away? I mean, does it really?
Maybe we all cry because we all need and this world is completely incapable of fully meeting our needs.
One reason those dreams I had were so emotionally impactful to me was that everyone was happy. There were no tears, there was no sorrow, there was no pain. They were jubilant! They were joyful! There was no reason to cry! How could there be a city with no reason to cry? But there it was! Right there! And then it was taken away, and I woke up, and again, there was plenty of reason to cry.
I saw a video once of an AKB48 idol. She was one of the less popular ones, and she made a video where she was crying because she didn’t have enough money for matcha cookies and chicken nuggets. Of course, she wanted some matcha cookies and chicken nuggets, but it’s never about the matcha cookies and chicken nuggets. Sometimes life seems so much against you that even matcha cookies and chicken nuggets are denied you, because the world doesn’t think highly enough of you to give you the resources to acquire them. Should you always get what you want? No, obviously not. But it feels like an unfair world when you want so little, and even that’s denied you. That’s one place where tears come from.
I’m tired of tears. I’m tired of everyone else’s tears, and my own as well. I’m just tired of it. I want it to stop.