Smiling Through Tears

Vol. 5 No. 3 January 14, 2002

Years ago our family gathered for what had become an all too common time of visitation at the funeral home. In the midst of the words of consolation and regret, someone said something funny. At least it struck us as funny. We all laughed. I mean we really laughed. Not just a quiet snicker or chuckle. We laughed hard. Some may have thought us to be disrespectful or even irreverent, but still we laughed. It felt good. We had cried earlier. We would cry again later. But, for those few moments we laughed.

A little girl and her Dad were playing and things got a little too rough. She accidentally got hurt and took it personally. Her feelings were hurt. She cried. She got angry. She stuck out her bottom lip. Her Dad apologized and dried her tears, but she held on to her pouting disposition. He nudged her a little. She grunted and nudged him back. He did it again. She grunted and nudged him back, but then she smiled through the tears.

A relationship that had shown great promise had ended. His heart was broken. He went home and wept. He vowed never to love again. Then, the next week a girl he had seen but never really noticed walked into the classroom. Their eyes met. His heart raced. He smiled.

It had been a long and difficult illness. There had been months of excruciating pain, countless visits to the doctor, examinations, injections, and explanations. With the family surrounding his bed, his final words were spoken, a prayer was worded, and tears flowed. He looked in to each person's eyes, took a last deep breath, and smiled.

She had been in labor all night and most of the day. She was exhausted. He was tired too, but decided it best not to mention it. He was afraid to touch her. She was glad he was afraid to touch her. The progress was slow. The were scared. The nurses reassured them, but they were still concerned. He gripped her hand as the doctor said, "One more good push." They heard the cry. They cried. They kissed. They smiled.

Smiling through tears might be a good description of the life of a disciple of Jesus. We walk through this world with our hand in His always knowing that graves will be emptied, relationships do survive, broken-hearts can be healed, death is not the end, and pain often precedes the greatest periods of joy. For the person who has sold-out to Jesus even in the darkest of night he knows there will be light in the morning, even in the saddest of times she knows that joy will return, even in the most tragic of deaths they realize there is life yet to be lived, and even in the most despairing of times we understand that hope can sustain us. Why? Because as He hung on the cross and endured it's pain, He knew He would rise from the grave. Surely He smiled through their tears.

He is alive and we can smile through tears.

Copyright 2002