there was a small plant in the village that grew alongside the gravel roads and clay paths we walked and played on daily. it was one of the first things i looked for when returning to the wet heat of the sepik. stepping onto the grassy airstrip, crowds gathering, hands grasped in welcome. boxes being lifted onto shoulders for flooded river crossings, i would look to the side for sighting.
in the middle of moving forward, i was compelled to crouch down, skirt tucked between legs. because at the lightest touch each small rowed leaf would close in. gathering itself instantly. setting fingers softly on surface of each tiny frond. never tired of watching the response to my touch. testing to see if lighter still would bring movement.
often my response to life’s touch is tears. hand fluttering, welling up daily moments sometimes mixed with smiles. curled up sobs at big loss or piled on regret. even cheeks wet and sniffles started in seeing another crying.
there are times i do not cry—when my heart is buried or too hard for love to find it’s way through. i wait. not for the tears. but for god’s finding and softening. to have a heart near the surface. a heart responding.
when jesus saw her weeping, and the jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “where have you laid him?” he asked.
“come and see, lord,” they replied. jesus wept.
john 11: 33-35 (NIV)
with or without tears. his heart must have swelled in response.
to the ones who reached out to touch him. their only hope of healing.
to one turning back to betray.
to mother left broken-hearted at the cross, in her longtime faith—still a mother losing child.
to the shamed in denial.
to the desperate for him to make a difference. not understanding that he had.
jesus had a heart near the surface.