This morning I sent off my son to his first day of kindergarten and headed off to work. Upon arrival, I met Eric retrieving a needle from the roof to add to the cookie jar of despair. The bus is filled with hope and futures, the jar with hopelessness, futures buried alive.
I left this morning watching my son’s mother offering up to God the kind of tears that somehow prove the goodness of the world and the meaningfulness of life. But I wonder about the mother’s tears that are falling to the ground today from a heart that needle has pierced. I wonder, with dread, what it is like to see a child bury his future alive, what it is like to anticipate burying a child dead. How does a mother hang on to hope as she watches her son let it go, when her hope is so bound up in the future of her children?
Maybe she couldn’t hold on. Maybe she just couldn’t produce enough tears to fight back the famine claiming her family’s future. Maybe she was fighting alone, no father’s tears wetting her son’s heart, no husband guarding hers. Perhaps her heart, chapped and exposed, over time cracked open with so many sorrows that her soul has fractured into sand. The tears she so faithfully offered up for so many years, alone, never yielded a future in the life on whose behalf she offered them, only more God-damned thorns, only more of that entangling thicket slowly wrapping around her son’s neck, crowning its victory over his future, her future. Her tears never found their way to a Garden. The all-consuming ground is dried up of any goodness, fertility, newness. It’s all just burial ground.
Who among the gods will come to such a world? Let him come.
Who among the gods will come to such a mother? Let him come.
Who among the gods will come to such a son—as a man caught up in the thickets, to wear his crown, to be damned into the desert floor? Who among the gods will come to this world, to be chapped, broken, buried?
For there can be no other world for this mother and her son, so there can be no other God for this world.
“The wilderness and dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like wildflowers. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing…And they shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God” (Isa. 35).
Yes–but only if that glory rains down in a veil of tears, only if that majesty is crowned with a curse, buried with all futures lost. If a new song of rejoicing is ever to arise from the parched ground of this disheartened world it will have to enter at first in tune with a symphony of sorrows.
Who among the gods is so willing? Who among the gods is there with a heart like that for a world like this, a God of sorrows, Man of sorrows?
Then let Him come. Jesus, come.