Where do Spirit Tears come from?
When the scrappy outside back (White) battles the opposing team’s forward (Blue) to win the ball near the touchline, we cheer her on. One shields, the other pokes. One leans, the other muscles in. The referee lets them play. All fair. No foul.
Blue turns sharply toward the field just as white lifts her head. White’s head collides with blue’s jaw. Blue goes down holding her chin. White hovers. I can see her mouth the words, “Are you okay? I’m sorry.” Blue doesn’t respond. I hear the hiccups of her tears coming. Her coach is running on. White still hovers. Her eyes fixed on blue who is standing now, crying and holding her chin. She does not look at white. White does not leave.
Coach examines blue and wraps an arm around to usher her off the field. Parents on the sidelines offer quiet applause in support of blue’s effort, a sideline salute. Our applause is muffled in gloved hands. White takes a step with blue and her coach and then turns back to the field, to her position. I am watching her face. Freckled and frowning, all compassion, all confusion. There is nothing to be done. A white teammate in-bounds the ball and the game goes on.
I am surprised by the tears that well up in me as I have watched this scene. Where do these tears come from? These are not tears of pain, nor sympathy, nor concern. There is something more here. Something that can’t be seen, only felt. It’s what starts the tears in me. Watching a kindness, especially an unreciprocated kindness, in a place not known for kindness or concern, gets me ‘right there.’ Where is right there?
It’s the same place in me that fluttered when…
- I saw the NC State jumbo-tron photos of Ian in memorium
- I heard Curtis Finch sing gospel
- I got news that my daughter was safe when I feared otherwise
- I saw the woman in the wheelchair ringing a silver bell in support of runners going by in the race
It’s that “choked up” place that, for some of us, is connected to a spicket that accesses our tear ducts. A gentle place. A tender spot.
A friend once told me that tears mean the Spirit is present. Tears like these.
I have come to expect them. Spirit tears. They are different from the “regular ones.” (My spicket has several on/off valves for sure.) But these…they seem to come even without warning. At unpredictable times, at least by other peoples’ estimation. They’re almost a signal to me from some place inside of me that says, “This is a special moment, a Holy moment. Hold onto it. Remember it. Revere it.”
It’s funny how the holy gets hold of us that way. Sneaks up and grabs us to get our attention. And all that’s left are a few Spirit tears, that distort our vision for a moment.
I blot them, and usually look around to see if anyone just saw me crying. I mean, who does that? Tears up when a 15 year old, pony-tailed kid, bends over to see if a girl her age that she’s never met before is okay? Ha. Just the memory of it has my vision blurring again. Another Holy moment. I can’t command them and I don’t know when they’re coming, but I am ever so glad to know when they’re here.
Posted on March 18, 2013, in Body, Deeper Sensation and tagged coach, Coaching, competition, empathy, Holy Spirit, injury, kids, kindness, Parenting, Soccer, Spirit Tears, sports, sportsmanship, tears. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.