… softened… by tears

Pulling weeds in early morning is never a chore after a night’s rain; in fact, it’s quite enjoyable. The ground is soft and those plants in unwanted places slip from the soil quickly with little effort.  I was weeding one morning this past week with tears washing my face, and realized weeding is much like forgiveness.

You see, I lost a younger sweet brother last week. He is gone… this brother who called me weekly, sometimes daily… with a joke or a trivia question, checking  in to make sure we were doing okay. This caring, happy human is gone. And I cried.

(Kenneth with our daughter, Sherree about 4 years ago.)

As night rains gift us with a reward of easy weed pulling, so tears soften past hurts, enabling us to even forget them completely. Tears wash negatives away in the same way rain cleanses yellow pollen from everything it has colored. Yes, I cried for the loss, but I cried in joy, knowing there are no regrets, no what ifs, no could ofs or should haves.

Over the years, there have been breaks in our relationship.  Kenneth would be the first to tell you he wasn’t perfect; and you know I’m not. But he was a good brother for me… kind, loving, caring.  Do you think I remember any words or the reasons for the time lapses in our relationship?  Or justify my reactions with any issue?  I had forgiven him; he had forgiven me.

Tears clear memory.

Tears are necessary; they work constantly, involuntarily… protecting our eyes, cleaning out irritants like onions, lubricating and nourishing them with over 1,500 proteins.  They bathe us every minute.

A third type of tear, in addition to the basal and the reflex ones mentioned above is the emotional tear. These are as necessary as they are healthy, letting us know we are uniquely human.  This is the kind of tear we shed over a sad movie, a sad book ending, a broken heart.  It is estimated an individual may cry 15 to 30 gallons of tears a year. How many tears does it take to fill a gallon?  I am positive I exceed that limit… every year!

It was Aristotle who suggested tears… tears of sadness and trauma could be a release for emotional pain, followed by a sense of balance. I am convinced tears, heavy tears are a necessity in the forgiving of ourselves and others. Tears aid in the release, a letting go of the pain, letting go of hurtful words and actions of others. Tears bring moisture to dry pockets of remorse, regrets and cause a gentle release of the unwanted “weed.”

I’m wondering if we can forgive, really forgive,  without an abundance of tears. The deep letting go, a release of bad memories, hurt and pain without a flood of tears may be impossible. Some research in the area of emotional tears indicate these tears contain additional proteins and hormones not found in the other types. It is suggested these tears may have pain relieving effects that aid in regulating the body and bringing balance.

This week’s gallon of tears bring reflection on the good… only good. I need these tears of loss to remind me to live intentionally, constantly loving and forgiving others on this journey to Now.

My brother and I had reconciled in every area that could have separated us; it has been a beautiful journey these past years. But what if we had not? Today, I would be crying with regret. I encourage you, dear reader, to “weed” with tears of forgiveness for those in your sphere of life.

Kenneth’s last week…

“You, as dearly loved by God, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another (your brother, your sister, a former friend) my italics… Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. And over all these virtues, put on love which binds them all in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:13).

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you (on me) live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

… forgiving, forgiving… forgiving.

… with tears… by Barb Suiter

About oct17

The little girl in me loves bird watching, butterflies, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the rain; the adult I am enjoys the same. I sense God's awesomeness in all of life--what wonder there is in slicing a leek or cutting open a pomegranate. I have many favorite things--a formation of Canadian geese flying overhead, the giggles of my grand daughters, the first ripe watermelon in summer, snowflakes on my face--these gifts from my heavenly Father delight me continually.
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12 Responses to … softened… by tears

  1. Ingrid says:

    Thank you, Barb! 😢


  2. June Knight says:

    I see so much Brannon in this picture, you forget sometimes how family members favor other family members. I haven’t seen you all in such a long time. Love the weed analogy, love the importance of forgiveness, meaningful words that I’ll not soon forget…sending love ❤️ June Lambert Knight


    • oct17 says:

      Yes, so very true June. I see Brannon often! Even in some of the great grand kids! Thank you for your words. I would love for you to follow my blog. It was so wonderful to see your mother and Diane at Kenneth’s service.


  3. Glenda says:

    Great. I’ve cried a few times this week myself for many many reasons.
    I wish this broken world could/would cry over our sin and broken relationships. We must bring tears to the eyes of Jesus as we continue many times in our agendas and not about the work He wants to accomplish here on earth in and through us.
    I’m so glad you and your brother had those last few years a good relationship once again. Cry those tears of joy often.
    I love you and Tom and yes sometimes I cry because I miss and yearn for those memories of the past.


  4. Davene Tomlinson says:

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family Barb in the loss of your brother.
    You all are in my thoughts & prayers. May God bless all of you with His comfort & peace during this time of sorrow. Love you,


  5. Nora Johnson says:


    I absolutely agree with you. Tears are a cleaning necessity. You have discribed the reaction that is a part of the mind and heart ‘s healing process in so many situations. Part of God’s built in medicine, I like to think.

    Thank you dearest Sister Friend, for sharing your thoughts, after your natural reaction to the loss of your dear brother. My deepest sympathy. With love, and sympathy for all that you are going through in forventet passing of another family member.

    Sister Nora Rose


  6. Elaine Mount says:

    I enjoyed reading this because I xan relate so much. I am sure others, more than we know, could relate also.

    I am sadden to hear about your brother. All 10 of us kids are living. But I dread the day when one of the other none passes away. Unless I am first, that sadness will hit me!


  7. Elaine Mount says:

    Oops, correction I meant “one of the other nine passes”


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