Woman crying

I have a picture on my laptop of a woman crying. Marti sent it to me some time ago related to a Catch I was writing then. I remember being drawn to it and quite disappointed that I couldn’t upload it to the file I use to format and send the Catch. It would have been perfect for that day. Something about too many characters.

Funny thing – I couldn’t take it off my desktop for some reason, and I’ve kept it there for some time even though I know I can’t use it anywhere. It’s such a moving photograph that I will open it from time to time just to look at it again. It’s gotten to be that I feel like I know this woman. I somehow feel her pain. It’s become, for me, a picture of grief – not just universal grief, but this woman’s grief. I hurt for her. I have no idea who she is or why she’s crying, but I hurt for her.

It could be anyone. A single mom unable to cope, a soldier’s wife now a widow, the witness of a tragedy, a mother who lost a child … anything. It doesn’t even have to be a woman. It could be  the visual expression of a man’s grief. The more I look at this picture, the more I want to do something.

So I keep it on my desktop, now so fully acquainted with it that I feel like it would be an act of insensitivity to remove it.

It’s just a picture, I tell myself, but then again, maybe it’s more. It’s someone I don’t know, but maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s someone I do know who isn’t telling me everything – someone who feels like this inside but can’t show it.

Maybe it’s someone I will meet today … or maybe tomorrow.

Maybe it’s my wife. I have known her sadness to be this deep. More often than I would like to admit, I have been the cause of it. I need to care about that.

Maybe it’s the picture of a chronic pain accessible to anyone, any time – one of the tragedies associated with life on this earth.

Jesus was said to have been a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Surely that would have been a sorrow he bore through association with our humanity. He took on our sorrow. There is some way in which our sorrow became His.

I don’t get to be aloof. I don’t get to pass this by if Jesus didn’t. The scriptures even say He became sin for us. “He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s what I call total identification.

Maybe these are all part of the reason why I keep this picture on my desktop. We are sometimes so quick to want to solve someone’s problem that we fail to enter into it. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.

And now, after all this, believe it or not, I find out I can share the picture with you. I just tried it again and found out it was the file name, not the picture, that had too many characters. So I reduced the file name to simply read, “Woman crying,” and that did it.

So here she is. Now you can care for her a while.

And when it’s day to me it’s night to someone
And when it’s night, you may not want to go on.
– Mark Heard from “Some Folks’ World”

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8 Responses to Woman crying

  1. Marc says:

    The time was fitting. I weep with her, but it is also a reminder of what we just observed yesterday in Epiphany, which celebrates the coming of the wise men. Just afterwards is a great slaughter as Herod slaughters the children in Bethlehem, afraid the Child is a threat to his reign. This verse comes to mind:

    “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    Weeping and loud lamentation,
    Rachel weeping for her children;
    She refused to be comforted because
    they are no more.” Matthew 2:18

  2. Elizabeth Black says:

    It could have been me except the lady does appear young in the picture. I buried my husband of 56 1/2 years three weeks ago today and little things set me off crying as I miss his presence so much. He had suffered so long with Muscular Dystrophy and the end weeks were just terrible for him especially and for our family as we watched him suffer. Pray that you never die with it. I could write all of the gory details but won’t. I would like to say to young couples, enjoy every minute with your spouse and treat them kind always as when they are gone, it hurts so badly. My husband never stopped opening the car door for me for all of those years until he couldn’t physically. That stands out to me as the kind gentleman he was. We will be together in Heaven someday but until then, I am lonely and crying like the lady in the picture.

  3. KaT H. says:

    Simply beautiful! And, this was me–three Christmases ago–when I celebrated my first Christmas ever without my parents on planet Earth.

  4. Karen says:

    Somehow, I see her as someone who has just completed a race–perhaps for cancer research?–and she is COMPLETELY exhausted. She is wiping sweat and tears, and thinking of the person or persons in whose honor or memory she has run. And maybe there are a few tears of joy mixed in; she has done something she wasn’t sure she would have the stamina for.
    So in a way, I picture it as being a symbol of a victory of sorts.

  5. Deana says:

    I saw it as a time of sadness for her – felt my own sadness over the past four years and it brought tears to my eyes just now. Sometimes I feel like I cry too much and other times I know I don’t cry enough. I haven’t gotten through the grief of divorce because I haven’t let myself collapse and weep except when I am alone, and even then not very much. I know that I am never alone, God is always right there by my side but I have refused to let Him help me with the grief. I have kept it tightly held in my hands, playing the victim and continuing to be unaccepting of healing that He offers. It does seem like there is some anger and frustration mixed in with her sadness and I can totally relate to those feelings as well.

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