My husband and I visited Bryce and Zion national parks this summer. With the heat of the summer before the monsoon rains, I was surprised at the places in Zion National Park where water was coming out of rock walls. I learned that centuries of pressure squeezed deposited mud into thin shale layers and compressed the sand into thick sandstone layers. Water passes easily through sandstone but not the shale. Rain and snow falling on the plateau above soak into the sandstone. When the water reaches the shale, it moves sideways to emerge from the cliff as a spring. The spring water offers nourishment that allows plant life to thrive on the sheer rock face.
Sometimes it feels like the pressures of life squeeze us to a point that we feel overwhelmed. I lost my father this summer. I tend to hold emotions inside and it is hard for me to cry. I was surprised that something totally unrelated to my father would cause me to weep…sometimes in public.
Many people in our culture are uncomfortable with grief, mourning and knowing what to say when someone is experiencing loss, depression and despair. Too often persons utter hurtful platitudes instead of simply offering the ministry of presence. I feel blessed by true friends who offer the assurance that my tears will emerge in time as springs of water offering healing, hope and new life. I pray that each of us can “be” that presence for those who are suffering in mind, body or spirit.