As I watched a list of artists and celebrities who died this past year in one of those “Year In Review” segments I noticed they missed one of my favorites – Pat Conroy. He was a prolific writer and fascinating person who began a career as a teacher and turned to writing after clashing with school administrators on his methods and his openness to diversity and integration. One quote that struck me was this:
“American men are allotted just as many tears as American women. But because we are forbidden to shed them, we die long before women do, with our hearts exploding or our blood pressure rising or our livers eaten away by alcohol because that lake of grief inside us has no outlet. We, men, die because our faces were not watered enough.”
― Pat Conroy,
Grief is a complex thing. We grieve over relationships we never even had. People who touch us in some way become a part of what inspires or challenges us. When we lose them there is a grief as it were from a distance. But we need to realize that we get too comfortable with living. Death seems to be an adoration rather than the true reality of earth. The CEV translation of the Bible says this in 2 Corinthians 5:
5 Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever. 2 While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. 3 We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked.
Tears are not a bad thing. They help us deal with the harsh realities of life but they can also lead us to a cleansing and more contemplative life. God has prepared an eternity for us if we but strike the tent. I wish I could write like Pat but I guess I am more like a “Cliffs Notes” type of guy. As 2016 passes into the history books take hold of life but remember we just live in tents that can easily be taken down. The mansions await.