God Records the Tears of the Caregiver's!
- Published on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:45
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
One can find a daily record of grief, sorrow and the tears of the world's many caregivers for their Alzheimer’s afflicted loved ones…one only has to visit the Facebook and online pages of the Alzheimer’s and other dementia caregiver groups to understand and appreciate the vast scope of the daily sorrow, hurt and the tears generated by this terrible disease.
Bible scripture tells us that not only does God hear our cries of sorrow but he keeps a record of our tears…
“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle:
...(are they) not in thy book?”…
Psalm 56: 8 (KJV) Psalmist David...Ca. 1000 BC
In the above scripture, the Psalmist tells us that God keeps a record of our tears and that He saves those tears in a bottle. We might ask why would God collect our tears in a bottle? …Do our tears somehow speak a special language to the very heart of God? God who is our Heavenly Father and as such His heart is tuned in to our cries. Our tears would be important to Him. They stir the heart of God our Father and He responds to our tears.
History of Tears Collected in Bottles
The National museum in Tehran, Iran, has ancient artifacts dating back some 6,000 years…there are said to be some unusual shaped bottles that are designated as “Tear Bottles.” When a husband went off to war, the wife or loved one would weep and collect their tears in a bottle. Upon the husband’s return, the wife would hand her beloved the bottle of tears…these bottles spoke louder than the words. They said ‘I love you’. Scripture also tells us that God has bottles, in which He collects our tears.
Stories of tear bottles are found in the history of Egypt, Jewish and the middle eastern societies. Tear bottles were prevalent in ancient Roman times, when mourners filled small glass vials with tears to place them in burial tombs as symbols of love and respect. These bottles were used by mourners in ancient Persia to collect their tears by means of wiping their tears with cotton-wool and squeezing their tears into the bottle. Tear bottles represents an ancient Middle Eastern custom of collecting the tears of the family and preserving the tears in bottles…this was once a normal tradition. When death or serious trouble occurred, each member of the family brought his or her tear bottle and collected tears from the other persons present. These bottles were considered sacred to the family members because they represented all the sorrows of the family. Each person was said to be buried with his or her tear bottle. Many of these are said to have been found in ancient tombs.
Modern archaeologists have found a number of these tear bottles in ancient tombs. They are made from a variety of materials that include glass, pottery, agate, sardonyx, sometimes skin and occasionally crude baked clay. Most are broad at the bottom with long slender necks and funnel-shaped mouths.
Tear bottles were said to have reappeared during the Victorian period of the 19th century when once again those mourning the loss of loved ones would collect their tears in bottles ornately decorated with silver and pewter. The mourning period allegedly would end when the tears evaporated from the then cork stoppered bottle, but the bottle remained as a symbol or token of eternal devotion.
King David was the writer of the above Bible passage and was a person who knew what it was like to shed tears. Yet even in his tears and in exile, he finds comfort. He realizes that God is taking note of his tears and his suffering. A record is being kept in God’s book of David’s sufferings. His tears are not tears shed in vain. They are tears of grief and loneliness, but not of despair. They were a token of suffering, that one day each tear will become much more…So David is saying to God, “Put my tears in Thy bottle"— "store them up for me.”
David according to the Hebrew Bible, was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus. His life is conventionally dated to c. 1040–970 BC, his reign over Judah c. 1010–1002 BC, and his reign over the United Kingdom of Israel c. 1002–970 BC.
Related Bible verses:
Isaiah 38: 5 (KJV) “Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years”.
2 Kings 20: 5 (KJV). “Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.”
Psalm 126: 5-6 (KJV) "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. They that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,"
One day, perhaps very soon, our Heavenly Father is going to come for us. He will take us up in His comforting arms and in accordance with Revelations, He will wipe all our tears away forever. Perhaps, He will show us those bottles of tears that He has been collecting. Perhaps He will select one of yours and say: “Do you see this bottle here? These are the tears you cried when I took your mother/wife/father/husband home to be with me. You see you were never forgotten. I did care that your heart was broken. I was there with you comforting you.”
For a companion essay see... "Where is God in this Alzheimer's world?"...on this website:
Jesus has also Wept in Grief and Compassion
John 11: 33-35 (KJV): “33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping . which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said , Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord come and see. 35 Jesus Wept”… (The death of his friend Lazarus.)
Luke 19: 41-44 (KJV) "41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes, 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Jesus foresaw the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and wept.)
Grieving for June
Some of my friends, relatives and family may think of me as perhaps just a little strange…I am still grieving for June who passed away on 23 October 2008...I have been through three “Grief Share” programs at our Redeemer Lutheran Church and I am presently engaged in the fourth one that started in February 2013…I also participated in “Surviving the Holidays” early last November…just in time for Thanksgiving and of course Christmas immediately following…This was another of the programs presented by our church for those who have lost loved ones and fear the approaching holidays…
I have always felt relaxed and comfortable in these group settings because I know that all of the other members of the group are also going through their own individual journeys through Grief…that they understand me better than any of my friends or family who have not. I enjoy telling them about June and in turn listening to their stories of their loved ones who have also passed on…
I have also found that there are others in our groups that have been grieving as long or longer than I have…I have also learned that everyone’s journey through grief is different…losing a spouse is also a special type of grief known only to those who have suffered such a loss...it is different and unique from losing a parent, a sibling or an adult child…this is the person we have lived with 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for many years…
“My tears are the words with which I tell God of my pain.” Adolfo Quezada
Tears are not uncommon and no one is ever made to feel embarrassed if they should find them selves in the position of shedding tears when discussing their loved one...after all Jesus both wept at the news of the death of his friend Lazarus as well as when he foresaw the future destruction of the city of Jerusalem.
The loneliness and grief while interspersed with periods of Joy and purpose, always lurks in the background awaiting the opportunity to spring forth...and much like the day itself, a wave of sadness arrives with the evening shadows…and yes, everyday I have brief episodes of tears…Grief has a way of ambushing you when least expected…it may be hearing a song, walking into a room or seeing a favorite item of remembrance…for me it is sometimes just opening a door, a drawer or a cabinet...perhaps it is an anniversary that holds special memories...
Our family and I have suffered three deaths of family members within a 5 year time period...My mother Ellen on 21 October 2007, (Alzheimer's) my wife June on 23 October 2008 (Alzheimer's) and my oldest son David on 18 October 2012...(Cancer) October has not been a good month for our family!
"I know crying is a human characteristic.
I will not be ashamed of my need to cry,
for tears are part of my human experience."
(Sefra Kobrin Pitzele)
David Glesne - Fridley, Minnesota – (19 March 2013): “Stan, This is great information! Thanks for educating me on Tear Bottles! But beyond that, it is moving that God remembers our tears in this way and the love that they show forth. Thanks for doing the research…Pastor Dave, Redeemer Lutheran."
Bryn Sineath - Hot Springs, Arkansas - (20 March 2013): "That's very nice! It's a beautiful story about God recording tears ..."
Lora Rushing Robinson - Benton, Louisiana - (20 March 2013): "I never knew that Mr.Stanton...you never cease...to touch my heart...I sit here and think of my tears...saved...anyones tears saved...it sounds so holy...God bless our tears...I appreciate you Mr. Stanton...you lift me up, you make me think, you...for sure, make me appreciate....appreciation...even when you say the word verbally...beautiful...God bless you and Ms. June...I hope to meet her one day...me and Nanna."
Sherrie Penner Terning - Cokato, Minnesota - (20 March 2013): "Never knew this, either, Stan...I like it."
Lisa Porter Power - Imperial Beach, California - (20 March 2013): "Saving of Tears. Very touching and I will not forget."
Dianne Cogar - Springfield, Ohio - (21 March 2013): "Over the years, if they could have been preserved, my tears would now make up a considerable part of the worlds water supply. Ever since I was a child, I would tend to cry as much for others , whether I knew them or not, if not more, than I would for my own heartaches and self-pity. But then, I can't complain because this is why I am able to connect and compose heartfelt sentiments for people from all walks of life."
Rev. Erma J. Yates - Prior Lake, Minnesota - (21 March 2013): "YES, Stan! This is the page I foresaw for you! How excellently you have researched and presented this point of inspiration! ...Truly...in the heart of God!"
Judy Moody Wood - West Point, New York - (28 March 2013): "You are so amazing... May God keep you safe and guide you thru what you need to do."
Marsha McKneely Ault - Nacogdoches, Texas - (27 October 2013): "I loved the part about "tear bottles". I am a very emotional person and tears come quite often. . . even tears of happiness...Thank you for sharing Stanton. Hope you rest well this night. Dream of the heavenly reunion that will be yours one day. I am sure tears will flow on that day in heaven."
Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (28 July 2015):"What a fascinating story Stan...who knows...this ritual may have even helped with the grief...you have some fantastic stories which are a joy to read Stan...God bless ."
The "Memoriam" article published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune following June's death in October 2008, can be seen on this website by clicking the below link. It can also be found on the website on the top navigation strip of the home page under the "In Memoriam" label: