Note to my empath-self in times of tragedy

"If I didn't care 
then it wouldn't 
hurt so much." 

something I tell myself 
(almost daily sometimes)
especially when the world spins
on her broken axis and evil seems
to flourish with every revolution—
sometimes I wish I didn’t care so much

"You're too sensitive." 

something I grew up hearing 
(what felt like daily)
my tears were tiny but mighty traitors,
my tender heart— a bitter enemy.

but when I read of Jesus and 
how he heard the crowd 
around Lazarus’ tomb singing 
their songs of languishing lament 
and what he did as he looked Mary 
in her tear-stained face—

“he wept.” 
john 11:35 says.

“How he loved him!” 
they said on seeing his tears
and reading this, I know that Jesus
knows the daily crushing 
weight of grief.

and God did not chide him for weeping
even though he knew how it would all work out.
even though he himself held the power
to raise Lazarus from the dead—
to turn all those tears of mourning
into leaping, dancing shouts of joy.

so I suppose that I am not too sensitive after all—
I who do not know the ending of this story. 
I who have no idea how it will all work out. 
I who can only hope and watch and pray
kneeling at the feet of Jesus, weeping like Mary 
confused and angry—almost accusing:

“if you had only been here
 my brother would not have died.”

this declaration a statement of faith—
my anger a show of trust
in a Jesus large enough to hold my rage, my tears,
my confusion, my longing, my wondering
and all this ache that I can scarcely name.

and in the end, surrendering—
trusting that he can resurrect 
with a word or a breath, 
that he will be there in my weeping 
over all that I must lay to rest.
trusting that the pain I carry 
with all this caring
will also in time
be redeemed.

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