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Trail Of Tears: The Enduring Legacy of The Brokenhearted

(Photo/Artwork Credit: Jordan Chastain)


“Not all those who wander are lost.”
 – J.R.R. Tolkien

I’ve always loved the idea of chasing dreams, living life with intention, and changing the future. Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to make a difference through art and the realm of eternity.

There’s one achievement I never pursued, yet I still received: a heart full of broken dreams and eyes full of tears.

We all want a better future. Some, like myself, will experience the pain of unrealized dreams. Others will find temporary success, only to learn that they still long for more beyond their achievements. Others will settle for a life of false security. All-in-all, we are all journeying towards this mysterious place called:

THE FUTURE.

Tears are often one of the greatest reminders that we are eternal spiritual creatures living in a broken physical reality. Tears are the echo of our hearts crying out for authentic life.

In my personal journey thus far, it’s most likely you would have found me in communion with God as tears fell down my face, not just when I was smiling. It’s often in moments of great happiness that we neglect our dependence upon God…The physical world and its distractions are often so blinding that we forget who we really are underneath the skin. The Scriptures remind us:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

The journey along the trail of life will often be marked by our tears, not just by our celebrations. Heartache will find us all, regardless of our success and our false sense of material security. Tears are the physical manifestation of the longings within our souls, desperate for the Eternal God.

When I was in college, I had the privilege of becoming friends with one of our campus pastors named Dane. As a college student, I found him to be incredibly genuine and authentic, even though 40+ years separated us. He was a husband, a father, and a grandfather who loved talking about God, dealing with pain, and finding grace in Jesus.

There was one occasion during my time at school that I was completely lost and went to him seeking answers. That afternoon, I cried and allowed myself to feel the pain of what was taking place in my heart. Then something incredible happened:

He cried with me. 

Many leaders have inspired me with their words, but Pastor Dane met me there in the mess of it all, unafraid to get real. Through his tears, I was reminded of my identity as a child of God. It was within tears that my soul found strength.

We are all journeying through this life, leaving behind a trail called our legacy. The older I get, the more I realize that a trail stained with tears can often lead towards a heart that is healed. Leaving a legacy of the soul’s journey towards healing is far more eternal than a legacy of false strength.

“Your scars are not just a record of your wounds, they are a display of your healing.”
Matt Redman

Tears are not a sign of weakness. When we allow ourselves to cry, we are being vulnerable and honest about our need for healing, for hope, and for God.

Even Jesus cried…

What are you hiding behind your eyes filled with tears, scared that you’ll be found out?

Are you allowing yourself to cry and to express your soul’s need for healing?

Is there someone in your life who needs a safe place to shed tears and to talk about their pain? Will you meet them in their need?