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Women’s Wisdom

Tears
By Mrs. Hinde Gordon

The sky, a pale washed-out blue, is overshadowed with clouds,
The harbinger of winter, signaling that summer is again leaving.
The water is quiet and still, a few lily-pads adding color and shape.
A few fish and ducks wiggle around, making faint ripples.
The sounds of the city are far off, muted, unobtrusive.
And, I, too, am quiet, watching the water, drinking in the silence,
Feeling the peacefulness flood my heart.

The clouds turn color, darkening, threatening rain.
A breeze starts up, quiet, soft, then stronger.
As the ripples become waves, fish and ducks dive for shelter.
I remain still, watching and listening, waiting and wondering,
Asking myself, what is happening? Will it rain?
A few drops fall and then more. Rain spatters the water and me
Until all I hear is the sound of the raindrops.
All I see is the pattern of the rain hitting the water
And feel it hitting me, my nose, my woes, all of me.

I shiver and think. Odd, the raindrops look like tears.
Strange. What do tears look like? What do they feel like?
And I, who am always tearless, who never learned to cry,
Feel something dripping down my cheek. A raindrop?
It must be a raindrop. A tear? It can’t be a tear. Tears?
How would I know what they feel like, what they look like.
Tears are something for other people, not for me.
Tears are weakness. Tears are vulnerability. No tears for me.

And, then, I begin to retch, breath coming in gasps, feeling overcome.
Overcome by what? What are these feelings?
I don’t want them. Go away! Go away! Leave me alone!

The rain comes harder, pelting the world with huge droplets.
The tears pour from my eyes, from my heart in great spasms,
All the unshed tears from all the years, stored up and now
Gathered into one heap. But, wait, not a heap of misery.
No, not misery. A release of pain, of holding back,
A cleansing, an opening of my heart, of my soul.

And, as I watch myself weep and feel my happiness,
I marvel at the wonderful gifts – rain and tears,
Rebirth and growth – precious gifts of Hashem.
And, I wonder, does Hashem weep? Yes, yes, He does.
What are His tears like? Like raindrops?
I am His child. Are His tears like mine? Mine like His?
And, I think. Hashem weeps and never holds back His tears.
So, why did I? But, now, nevermore. Thank you, Hashem.
I can cry! I can weep! These tears are mine.
A gift freely given to You in return. Thank You.