John and Bethany Arndt

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Monthly Archives: September 2008

the sound of tears

September 9th, 2008 by | 2 Comments

My shirt on one side was drenched, soaked with the salt water of hurt. It was a kind of hurt that only sound could describe. It was the pain of a fatherless heart, the heart of an abandoned soul; the soul of a searching girl. The irony of this soul’s disposition was noteworthy, because she usually displays a shining smile and joy filled eyes, both of which had turned to lamentation. 17 years old and only ever knowing half of herself; not even a face to reference. Three days’ time was going to change that as Nosiviwe meets and sees her father for the first time. The preoccupation of acceptance versus rejection stirs within her.

As she asks for prayer through wet eyes, the other young girls tell her to be prepared for rejection, be prepared for excuses. They are not being pessimistic just speaking from experience. Nosiviwe’s friends encourage her to forgive him for his absence… “Anger won’t change anything.” …These insights coming from such young voices. Amanda offers to pray for her; she starts out, “God help her….” She chokes back tears herself, “Jesus…” she tries again. Her own emotion surrounding the issue swallows her and the sobbing begins. Now, not just the two of them, but all of them begin to mourn. I sense that it’s a mourning that only the fatherless may experience. It sounds like a wrenching that sits deep down in one’s heart. It sounds like an aching, the aching of a wound that has been bandaged but never healed. One of the girls’s sobs actually turns to wailing. Although the pain that was being released is powerful, almost tangible in the room, there is a certain sense of healing in these tears. The intensity of their heartache did not leave me unaffected but my own words would be meaningless. This collective pain because it was shared, proved overwhelming. It cried out, it was asking to be acknowledged, to be loved, to be cared for, cared about. They cried aloud… I prayed silently…. and then… then their maker spoke…

“But now this is what the Lord says, He who created you, He who formed you…’ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, your savior, YOUR FATHER. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you. I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life…bring me my daughters, from the ends of the earth, my daughters who are called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43) Their pain is deep, but so is His love… deeper than they will ever know now. But I pray that they will continue to experience only but an ounce of this love… this affection that cries with them, and then heals. This LOVE that is the author of fatherhood, of family; this LOVE that silences their tears.