Thursday, August 06, 2015

Weeping In Line

While staying in touch with e-mail reports during my mission to Vietnam, I began the updates with the phrase, A few random thoughts............ Shockingly, someone asked if I would continue and I said no but at least for old time's sake before my central story tonight:
A few random thoughts.........

-I saw the ugliest car today I have ever seen. It looked like a brand new KIA but it was painted white and pink with the Hello, Kitty! brand and had the Houston Texans' logo on the gas cap!
-I heard the saddest song ever driving home an hour ago from working out, George Jones' He Stopped Loving Her Today. Of course, I got emotional.
-Inservice is a necessary evil, especially for new teachers. But we are fed well!!
-The best part of the end of summer is seeing your students.
-I thought Vietnam was hot but a run of 100 degree plus days in Houston on the horizon!
-Why won't my apartment stay neat?
-I find myself waking up from naps and not knowing where I am for about fifteen seconds- almost over that, thankfully.
-I find myself wondering what they are doing in Can Tho numerous times per day.

On to the main event!

My journey to Can Tho and back is excruciatingly long. Last Friday, I got into a shuttle bus at the church building in Can Tho and I walked into my apartment approximately 42.5 hour later. As I mentioned, I cannot do more than doze in either the sky or in the airports. The flight home went from Saigon to Tokyo to San Francisco to Houston. You become numb or at least I do, especially throwing in a close to nine hour layover in Tokyo. (Most disappointing part of the trip home for me was the lack of good places to eat in the Tokyo airport or at least in the terminal I flew out of.) I do the love the speeded up process of entering the US through immigration and customs- scanning your own passport is easier than scanning a box of oatmeal at Wal-Mart. But I get very restless and anxious to get home. 

After going through immigration and customs and rechecking your bags in San Francisco, you have to go through security again and the line was incredibly long. It snakes around so you end up standing next to people going the opposite direction. I was in the second turn when I saw a young lady facing me from a spot in the line I had navigated several minutes before. I would guess she was late twenties, maybe thirty. She was nicely dressed and would be described as attractive. In one hand, she held her boarding pass and in the other, her cell phone. And she was weeping. She was not hysterical and I felt she was in control but she was distraught. I didn't get the idea it was over some relationship issue or breakup- it seemed much deeper than that. My guess was that perhaps she was trying to get home but her loved one died before she could make it. I was reminded of getting a phone message from Dave in a rental car just outside OKC that Mom had passed away before I got to see her one last time and I wept. I watched her phone someone else and I felt guilty so I looked away.

The shedding of tears is part of the human condition. The act can have so many connotations but most of us are aware enough to generally make some assumptions. In teaching Bible to the folks in Can Tho, I asked what the widow in Nain whose son had just died and the sinful woman who washed the Savior's feet at Simon's house had in common. Just this- they both were weeping when they met Jesus. Losing a son and mourning a sinful life are two very different types of grief which produced the same physical result. And although the scriptures ar silent on this point, my belief is that if they went away from the Lord with tears still in their eyes, they had turned into tears of joy. What a difference one man made two thousand years ago. He still will, if we let Him.

Applicable quote of the day:
“Weeping is not the same thing as crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it's over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up.”
Sarah Ockler

George Jones singing He Stopped Loving Her Today:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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