“When your work seems in vain, and your tears fall like rain, and to fathom the reason you try, do not yield to despair, you are under God’s care, and it will all be plain by and by.” -from “It Will All Be Plain,” James Rowe & E.S. Lorenz, 1934.
One thing about these past fee months is I have sure been grumpy. I think we all have, mostly because this is how we feel. We feel like our work is in vain. It takes ten times the effore to get half of the results. Some days it finally becomes too much, and the tears really do fall like rain, either literally or metaphorically, drowning us.
I have often desired a trip to the Holy Land to experience its wonder. One thing I most want to try is a “swim” in the Dead Sea. It is a sea with many inlets, but no outlet. Therefore, as the water coming in evaporates and leaves all sediments and minerals behind, it becomes salter than seas with outlets. Because of the trapped salt, it is almost impossible to drown in the Dead Sea because the water is extra buoyant. The worst swimmer in the world simply bobs right up in the dense water. As an avid swimmer, I would love to see how that kind of buoyancy affects a good dip.
I imagine today, though, that our tears are like the waters of the Dead Sea. It feels as if there is no place for them to go. There have been losses with no public funerals, job losses that just silently vanished, financial and social losses that all bring us to tears that have no where to go. The simply gather in an inescapable pool of saltwater at our feet, and we fear that the level is rising the longer this pandemic lasts.
Only, a sea with no outlet is dead, forced to concentrate, forced to thrust us up when we feel that we should be sinking downward. A dead sea, it turns out, is actually easier to swim in sometimes. Perhaps, this will not sink us after all. Perhaps we can all join in the same puddle of tears until over time, everyone in the sea can stay afloat. Maybe, just maybe, we will rise, even if it is on our own tears.
The words of this old and rare hymn of 1934, of a people aching to float up from the Great Depression, feel good in our ears today: “you are under God’s care.” May we stick together under God’s care, and may the sea of our tears be the very thing we need to rise.