Are you, or is someone you know, crying—even as a holiday approaches? You are not alone. Many people are sad, bereaved, or lonely during the holidays.
A.R. Cecil speaks to these feelings in her beautiful poem:
WHAT? YOU CAN’T STOP CRYING.
What? You can’t stop crying.
I hear you. Been there.
You say you left your grocery cart in frozen foods.
You’re telling me it was loaded with food
and every kind of whatnot
from all the other aisles,
and then you hightailed it to your car.
There you hid behind sunglasses and drove home.
Did you remember to wipe your fingerprints
off the handle of the loaded, abandoned cart
in frozen foods?—
You complain you couldn’t sleep because your slumber
was interrupted by the need to blow your nose.
David of the Old Testament cried on his bed.
See, we are in good company.
Let’s look at the list of life’s events that can trigger
such an avalanche of emotion.
Just check the one that fits, or mark “Other”
at the bottom.
All right, here we go.
You poured your life into the children.
All the children left home.
The empty nest doesn’t feel as good as you thought it would.
You lost your job.
You’re too old to be hired.
You’re not sure whether this reinventing is right for you.
You moved your mother into a nursing home.
You tried to manage Mom at home.
You moved your mother back into the home.
There is an injustice in your life.
You try to think of ways to address it.
Every idea leads to a dead end.
You choose to remain silent.
You have just received a bad diagnosis.
Many well intentioned people are offering suggestions.
Someone who is dear to you is very ill.
That loved-one says, “Just sit with me.”
An important person in your life passes away.
Listen, if you weren’t crying, I’d be worried about you.
I sympathize with you.
God empathizes with you.
That’s the reason He included people
like Joseph, David, Job, and Paul in His Book.
Think about them; think about the Lord; and think about me.
And, in the near future,
you’ll be able to leave your empty cart in the corral,
go home, store the perishables in the refrigerator,
and then sit on the sofa and have a good cry.
Now, that will be progress. That will be hope.
~ A.R. (Alice) Cecil
Editor’s note: This poem first appeared in A.R. Cecil’s published book of poetry, IN THAT PLACE CALLED DAY: Poems and Reflections That Witness God’s Love. Mrs. Cecil is also the author of That Was the Best Christmas!: 25 Short Stories from the Generations (Cladach, 2013) and is one of the contributing authors of Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell their Stories of Forgiveness and Healing.(Cladach, 2012).
Alice Cecil has a Master of Science in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has worked as a third-grade teacher, as well as writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for many years.
Alice and her physician husband reside in Louisville, Kentucky. They enjoy traveling to visit their four children and four grandchildren who live in various parts of the world.
Alice enjoys giving book readings and speaking to women’s groups.
This post was first published in 2017.