Allow me to return to sharing some Spanish culture. Gustavo Adolfo Becquer was a Romantic poet from the 19th century. My first exposure to him in Spain was reading Rima 38:
Sighs are air and go to the air!
Tears are water and go to the sea!
Tell me woman, when love is forgotten –
do you know where it goes?
Becquer talked a lot of sighs, eyes, and tears. Part of Rima 20 says: “Know … that the soul which can speak through the eyes, can also kiss with a glance.” In Rima 30 he says: “There appeared in her eyes a tear … and she says: “Why did I not cry?”
A melody Becquer added to Rima 61 says, “It is very sad to die young without a single tear of a woman.” A Puerto Rican coworker (female) suggested this means it would be sad for a man to die without ever having managed to piss a woman off. Another suggested it would be sad that not a single woman cried at your funeral. But of course, what he was saying was that it would be sad to die without having had a woman love you deeply enough that at some point she shed at least one tear over you.
Also, what does it mean to die young? Almost all the ancient Romans died at an age we would consider young in comparison to the average age at death now. But one definition for the Ancient Romans of dying young was to die before your parents died. Another definition was to die before marrying and having children.
There are close to 700 mentions of tears or weeping in the Bible. Many are tears of grief, such as when Abraham wept over the death of Sarah in Genesis. There are tears of repentance, and there are the tears of Jesus as he approached Jerusalem, thinking of the future destruction of the temple.
But what about tears of Joy? I think of the tears that come at a wedding, at the birth of your child, and I think of tears that come from laughing hard. These are all Good Tears, and they are all part of Good Love. I think of a recent phone call from my wife, and her telling me of a sacrificial gift she was going to make to one of our sons. Tears came to my eyes and I didn’t say anything for a while, as she wondered if I disagreed with her decision. But no, I was touched by her Good Love for our son. And I remember my first conversation with a pastor, who was relating the support he feels for his church, from the city and community. Tears welled in his eyes, tears of Good Love from not only the community but the Best Love from God and His blessings.
In Jeremiah 31: “The Lord says….tears of joy will stream down their faces…” And Psalm 126:5 says: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Many people know that Blaise Pascal was a mathematician and scientist from the 1600’s. But few know that upon his death, a small paper was found sewn into his coat, that he had carefully written on, then placed, removed, and re-sewn into new coats, for eight years. The date and time of an intense two hour religious experience is recorded, along with a description of his experience. Among other things, he said, “Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.” And he recorded that he was: “Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on earth.”
We all need to experience passionate humor and laughing to tears from time to time. And we all need to feel the Good and Better Love that gives us joy to the point of Good Tears. But most important, we all need the Best Love of God, the source of Best Tears.