“I can’t look at everything hard enough.”*
Last week I watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) and cried through much of it. Then this weekend I watched Our Town (1940) and wept through the entire third act. I must say that much of this was due to the great musical scores of both films, by Bernard Hermann and Aaron Copland, respectively, but still. They even changed the end of Our Town! (Spoiler alert) Emily doesn’t die! They softened up the hard ending of the play, but it was still effective.
Then I finished Jan Karon’s Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good and got a little weepy. It is not a sad book at all, but it reminds us all to rejoice and be glad and you know that that can make me tear up.
Then we sang hymn #624 in church–“Jerusalem the Golden”–and I was done (or undone as the case may be).
Well, you know what Frederick Buechner says about tears:
You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay close attention.
They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go next.
(Whistling in the Dark)
So keep your eyes and your heart open as you go forth into the world this week. Thanks be to God.
*Emily in “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder