It is not unusual for me to cry in church; to be honest I cry almost every week. No one around me notices except maybe my daughter or husband who may see a few tears running down my cheek, or notice my hurried search for a tissue. Sometimes I shed a few tears during worship as I feel the spirit of God in the room and the lyrics of the music touch my heart. More often it is during the sermon as the pastor's words touch me in a personal way.
Today I started crying after the service was over, as I was exiting the sanctuary. Not only was the timing unusual but this was not just a few tears- this was me fighting back the tears as I walked to our car. My husband noticed and asked me what was wrong. I told him I would explain later. Once I was safely in our car I could not hold back any longer- the tears came, and loudly.
How do I explain? I think by saying that for a brief time, and in a small way, I was feeling the heart of God. I wish I could say this happens to me a lot, but the truth is, as most people, I am more often self-centered and oblivious to the hurts around me. Or sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the sadness and pains people face around the world, I find it easier to shut down and distract myself from feeling their pain.
Today I couldn't shut down. I could start crying right now if I would let myself go back to the scene. You might be surprised by what brought on my tears, not a sad sight, but a beautiful one. It was a pair of bright, beautiful, and full-of-life eyes. I watched them as I was making my way up the aisle. I watched as they looked up at the people walking by them. If eyes can smile, and we all know they can, these eyes were doing just that. They seemed to be trying to reach out with love to all who were passing by. As I observed this I noticed that I seemed to be the only one who saw these beautiful eyes trying to connect with someone. I was determined to strike up a conversation or at least say hello when I reached them. The more I watched the more my heart was broken. When I finally reached the lady these eyes belonged to, someone stepped between us and my opportunity began to slip away. Then the woman who was pushing her wheelchair turned her around and ushered her out of the area. I never did connect with the eyes that moved my heart of compassion.
Where does one go after that? God had a purpose to allow me to feel His pain that profoundly.
1 John Chapter 3 warns us not to close our hearts of compassion to others, or the love of God does not remain in us. John also tells us not to love merely in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth. How easy it is to go rushing by people in our day-to-day haste and be unaware of someone trying to connect with us or be unwilling to take the time to listen to the trials that they may be trying to share with us. As this story illustrates, time is fleeting and our chances to connect with others can be gone in a flash.
Maybe God wanted to remind me to be more aware of the people around me, the people I see in my daily life: family, friends, and even strangers. Daily, I need to ask God to help me remain open to the needs of those around me, and how I might, in some small way, be able to meet them. If I can grow in this area I will not only find myself doing His will more often, but I will also open myself up to being able to feel the heart of God.