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”