No More Angel Tears

When the heart’s tap root hits pain, angels cry. Do you feel it?  Do you feel them, something, somewhere, swirling, moving, circling the soul as the root draws up pain watering the heart making it swarthy and bruised?

Some people, some personalities cannot get away from the pain. It’s not that they don’t deal with their own. They do. It’s that some can’t get away from other’s pain.

Sometimes out of the blue it can hit you, in the store, watching TV, hearing a story, understanding what has happened.  The person’s pain, both shown, and even more intense, the hidden pain, grabs hold with a dry ice-cold grip burning the very beats of one’s own heart.

It can’t be explained with words, for words don’t express it. Letters can’t convey it, and the alphabet becomes nothing more than scissors on the tongue.  You can’t get out what has gone in.There are a select few, very few, who get it.  Maybe they have a rare personality. Maybe they’ve experienced such personal trauma, such intense pain that they will always be raw where reality rubs.  I don’t know.

I do know it never goes away, not completely, not ever.  Even in the laughter there is that deep well tapping into a river of tears that runs far below the conscious thought.  I wish it were not so. It would be so much easier to just walk by, forget it, ignore its existence and pretend it’s never there.  It is, however, always there.

No More Angel Tears, Please

Some well-meaning people say it’s depression. It’s not, but it can feel the same. Some say it is all in the mind. It’s not. Not this. It’s in the heart.  Some say the insights it gives a person at the time is well worth the agony, yet those say that don’t experience the deep sadness of feeling doves weep and angels tears dripping in their soul.

I would trade it away, if I could.  I try to erase it but the pencil is sharpened on both ends. It just makes it darker to resist and grinds in ink like getting a tattoo by a butter knife.

It comes so unexpectedly at times. Maybe in the store you simply observe someone and all of the sudden it feels like a stranger’s entire life pain is placed on your shoulders.

You may not even know them. They never said a word and leave, but their pain lingers. You sense it. You know it like it was your own. You know what they feel and can’t shed it.  An inside sponge involuntarily absorbs their pain, and if you try to remove it by squeezing, more pain results from squeezing a spongy heart.

On the surface, this makes no, or little, sense, unless…unless you too have experienced it.

Is it a blessing? Or curse? If a blessing, then I want to curse the blessing. If a curse, then I want to use it to bless others.

It’s a tangled web when you feel angels crying, when you unwillingly feel the pain of others.  You want to just fade away, to be quiet and still until the internal, very real, but internal pain storm clouds and crippling lightning strikes pass on by.

Why have Thee, oh Potter, why have You made such?! Why can it not just be feeling the gentle ride on life’s waters instead of requiring one to feel other people’s painfully deep dives to the dark ocean floors?

Leave, you crying angels! Remove your drowning tears! Pick up your randomly plucked feathers! Weep elsewhere!

…but crying angels…cast not your tears on those with wobbling legs. Lay not your feathers on the wounded, trembling hearts barely beating.  Add no further burden to the lost, broken soul seeking hope, nor drip those tears on a desperate mind simply trying to make it through the day.

If the tears of mankind must be rained on human kind, then I relent, and accept, but only those angel tears, no more! Please, no more!

Please, No More Angel Tears

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50 thoughts on “No More Angel Tears”

  1. Interesting post Jeff, can’t say I’ve experienced that, at least not from others, within myself perhaps a couple of days, don’t really know. Not sure that I’d want it either, not where it goes to that depth of heart pain. God must allow it for a reason I’d think, you are His child. Grace and blessings.

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    1. It is overwhelming, and seemingly more so when it hits you out of the blue!! Sometimes it is far easier to shake your own troubles and pain than it is to let other’s go!

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  2. It is for this very reason that I ultimately chose not to major in psychology…it overwhelmed and exhausted me. I get it, Jeff. You are like Jeremiah–the weeping prophet. 🙂 God bless you greatly, my compassionate brother!

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    1. Lynn, that was part of the reason I majored in psychology and sociology and then got my Masters in counseling. It can be overwhelming and exhausting! And I still think I know your personality type, Lynn!! Peace to you!

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  3. I relate to this post a lot. I am highly attuned to tbe feelings of others – I call it “emotional infrared”. It can be both a blessing and a burden – especially when you are hit on the blind side with something that you couldn’t ever see coming. Still, we are made in the image of God, so if we are this way (sensitive and highly attuned), then these are attributes that He embodies, too. ✝️

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  4. Dear Jeff,

    Thanks for being willing to be so transparent. This post really struck a chord with me. This sense of overwhelming empathy that wells up within me at times has made me wonder if there’s not something wrong with me. And in a strange sense, the fact that I feel in tune with others’ pain can at times drive me further away from those very people. It seems like the cost is too much to get too close. Ignorance and relational distance feel like a sweet release. It’s especially hard when you know you can’t do anything to help. All you can do is hurt alongside them. And then I think, “Well, what good does that do?” Especially when you don’t even know the person! I guess in the end—I’m realizing this as I’m typing—if such an awareness drives me to prayer, intercession born out of the stepping into the pain of another, then I must not count that as nothing, even when I’m capable of absolutely nothing else. Perhaps that’s part of the reason some people are gripped with such empathy, even toward perfect strangers. Perhaps the tidal wave is meant to plunge us into intercession, and perhaps God in his mercy will hear and act, even when we can do nothing. Thank you for this post.

    Grace and peace to you,

    Eric

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    1. Eric,
      Amen, my friend! I suspect you are the same personality type also, as well as others who commented. There is always that square peg in a round hole feeling, even when you are right where you need to be and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be. I agree that once someone’s pain is sensed, sometimes distance can occur because it becomes so acute and can be literally exhausting, both physically and emotionally! Thank you for the insight, Eric! Peace to you!

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      1. Yes, feeling like a “square peg in a round hole” is exactly how I’d describe it. But I appreciate what you said next: “you are right where you need to be doing exactly what you’re supposed to be.” Good word. That makes me think that when the Psalms says God has personally knitted each person together in his/her mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), I can only conclude that includes personality. And if that’s so, then there are divinely appointed reasons for knitting together some hearts in such a way as to be so attuned to others’ pain. Even when those reasons aren’t immediately obvious.

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  5. Not to be able to feel another’s pain renders us less than human. By feeling the suffering of others we affirm our common humanity. It is, however unhealthy to wallow in pain, whether one’s own or that of others. Do what you can to alleviate suffering but don’t let it eat you up inside.

    Not to be able to feel another’s pain renders us less than human. By feeling the suffering of others we affirm our common humanity. It is, however unhealthy to wallow in pain, whether one’s own or that of others. Do what you can to alleviate suffering but don’t let it eat you up nside.

    Thanks for your post. All the best – Kevin
    Thanks for your post. All the best – Kevin

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    1. Totally agree, Kevin! Sometimes it is a simple balancing act, and sometimes it is walking a tight rope over the Grand Canyon. And I appreciate your words “don’t let it eat you up inside” for otherwise it would be like getting a bee sting and from then on never smelling a flower or eating honey! Peace to you, Kevin!

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    1. 😊 Yes, and you may never know how many, or even who, you may bless, encourage or inspire! You may never understand, at least on this side of life’s river, why God has done or allowed what He has. Shoot for the moon, my friend!!

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  6. I’m an INFJ as well, Jeff, so I totally empathize with you here. It’s hard sometimes, and like Eric mentioned, I’ve wondered if there’s something wrong with me for being this way. I’ve found it easier at times to withdraw as a means of self-preservation, to keep my sanity intact, otherwise I’d be crying the whole time! I’m glad it’s dark at movie theaters too, and people are focused on the movie enough to not notice my tears and sniffling. Nice to know there’s others like me 😉

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    1. Mia, yay! Always glad to find other INFJs! Sometimes we’re like an endangered species feeling like we’re the only one in the world. There’s probably more INFJs on this site than we think. I understand about the withdraw, otherwise it is like being crushed to death with the weight of the world on you being shoveled in one pebble, one person at a time. Get quiet, or alone as you said, and you can revive, heal, and get the energy to go on. Otherwise, it is as overwhelming as suffocation in a collapsed mining shaft. Sound similar?

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      1. Yes, it does! Or at least, has in the past. I’ve probably pulled away from personal relationships more over recent years, thinking that would be beneficial, but maybe it was to my detriment…I don’t know. There’s that fine line again😉, you know what I mean? But news stories, and even some TV programs, movies, and commercials, can still feel like a dump truck load of negatively charged wet blankets on top of me, smothering me as they neutralize every positive ion in my body.

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    2. INFJ are my exact Meyers Briggs letters, too. Exactly like Jeff said, it’s always great to find other INFJs. I often worry that I come across cold to some people precisely because of how strongly I feel the need to pull back, just like you said, out of self preservation. Jeff’s advice about getting alone and quiet is spot on. And there’s no need to feel guilty about having that time. (Talking more to myself there than to anyone else.) It’s kind of like sleep. You need to sleep so you can make the most of your awake hours. I think people like those Jeff described in his post need alone time to make the most of their “people” time. May God grant us all such rest.

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      1. Eric, the first time I read your comment, I felt you were INFJ! Your words resonated in my heart! And truly as you said, “May God grant us all such rest.” !!! Peace to you, brother!

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      2. Exactly, Eric! Some people recharge by being around other people, but we need alone time to recharge. I’ve found I need even more as I’ve got older 😉. Occasionally, I worry that people think I’m strange, or stuck-up, or antisocial, because I don’t sit around shooting the breeze as much as they do, but most of the time I do what I need to and let them do what they need to, and figure it doesn’t really matter what they think of me 😉.

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        1. Exactly!
          Mia and Eric, are you often misunderstood? Ever feel understood? Does anyone get how deeply you feel it in conflict and what do you do with that? Do you ever feel like yourself, or are you always having to adjust to meet others needs and then that is still not enough?

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          1. You’re making me feel better all the time, Jeff! 😉
            I thought I was the only one who felt like it wasn’t acceptable to be the way I am. You know, I’ve been trying all these years to be what other people wanted me to be, I’m not even sure what an unadulterated version of me would be like anymore. I’ve always got the impression there was something wrong with me, so yes, I’ve had to adjust to meet others needs and expectations, yet somehow, it seems I often fall short (not enough, not the right way, etc), because ultimately I’m faking it🤫. Lately, I’ve been working on accepting myself the way God made me, hence why I can say “it doesn’t really matter what they think of me” more often.
            I think the part about “how deeply you feel it in conflict” has been a big contributor to my depression over the years. It’s especially hard when the conflict is between two family members and you feel like you have to be the middle man, the peacemaker, trying to help each one understand where the other one is coming from, so it can be resolved. That feels like an impossible task!
            Are we still talking about the same thing here, or have I got way off track and I’m revealing more about myself than you’d ever want to hear😜?

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            1. Yes, yes and yes! For personality type, some call it chameleon at times, for when we have the energy we adjust to make others feel at ease, comfortable and good. We can appear outgoing and the life of the party, but it also costs us energy that has to be recharged being quiet, still or alone in our thoughts to get our energy back. You’re not “faking it”, although I have exactly those same thoughts and feel like I am “faking it” if overly tired. In reality, you are actually being kind, but it is rarely kind to ourselves because like you, I often get lost in what others need, and then what they want me to be, and can’t be myself trying to meet their needs. Ironically enough, then it’s increasingly difficult to be what others need. Eric was right on when he said “bless the rest”, for without it, we are not our best. (I made a rhyme there….see that? 😉 ) The peacemaker is easy for me, as well as conflict in my job at work, etc. but interpersonal conflict with someone close leave me deeply hurt, tongue tied, speechless really, and as if I am totally incompetent at doing the very thing I want to do the most. That does feel like an impossible task! And we are talking about the same thing, Mia! You’re not “off track”. You’re right down hitting the bull’s eye on the target. Others may read this and understand in their heads, but not get in their hearts, for very few people will actually get this unless they are INFJ. It feels like craziness at times! And its very common for INFJs to have anxiety or depression at times!

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              1. Yes, describing it like being a chameleon makes perfect sense to me. I’ve often thought of myself as a thermometer as compare to a thermostat. That is, I find myself always reading the emotional temperature of the room and then changing internally to match it, whatever it might be, instead of being like a thermostat that sets the temperature of the room. So externally that looks like me changing to fit others’ personalities and temperaments, and like Jeff said, I think (when I’m at my best) that comes from me wanting to be kind and put others at ease. I think that’s definitely a part of what drives a person to be a peacemaker, like Mia mentioned.

                The problem as I see it is twofold: One, like you’ve both mentioned, it can be an exhausting way to live, even when it comes from the purest of motives. You become an emotional yo-yo, and it gets to you after a while. The other problem is when insecurity enters the mix. Perhaps because we’re sensitive in general, we use our sensitivity to meet others where they are so that they’ll approve of us. At least that’s what I’ve experienced and how I find myself living at times. That’s what’s led me to some of my darkest moments. What about you, Jeff and Mia?

                As far as conflict… whew… don’t get me started! All I can say is that I agree that it is hard however you slice it, whether someone has conflict with me or I find myself caught in the middle between two other people experiencing conflict.

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                1. Great description using the thermometer, Eric! That’s a bull’s eye!

                  About the insecurity and meeting other’s needs using our sensitivity and feeling what others feel to gain approval and acceptance is right too. Everyone wants acceptance and understanding. The less one has, the more that need tends to grow.

                  It is difficult to fully get and feel others at times but always feel like that square peg in a round hole. Square pegs can even fit in round holes, it’s just they are only connected on four levels, not the whole surface. So connecting with someone else’s emotions and trying to gain approval due to insecurity would be doubly difficult. You feel, you sense, you know much what someone else may feel, but it is usually a one way street. The other person will always see you as their thermometer and always think you will reflect their temperature back to them.

                  In a way though, we’re left holding the bag because we never get to set our thermostat to a level that makes us feel perfectly comfortable. Then, insecurity can really take hold for we be freezing to death or burning up and can’t get to where we really are because we reflect to others and adjust ourselves to meet their needs, make them comfortable, make them happy, but the reservoir of mercury in the thermometer bulb is empty and dry. Under normal circumstances, we need to get alone and let the mercury settle again, but if there is insecurity, that just compounds it many times over.

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                  1. “Under normal circumstances, we need to get alone and let the mercury settle again, but if there is insecurity, that just compounds it many times over.” I understand all too well. That is exactly right.

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          2. To be honest, no, I don’t often feel understood. And I think that’s because my definition of the word “understand” includes as much empathy as it does logical understanding. That is, for me to think someone has fully understood me, I want to be sure he’s felt what I’m feeling as if those feelings were his own. I think I consider emotional understanding to be so important because that’s how I primarily understand other people. My thinking goes like this: My ability to understand other people comes primarily from the fact that I can feel what they feel (at least I think I can). So when I look around and don’t perceive many other people to be able to grasp the depths of my emotions like I think I’m able to grasp theirs, the result is that I don’t feel understood.

            I’m not saying I’m 100% correct in my thinking. Everyone has different levels of empathy, and I know (in my logical brain anyway) that I can’t judge a person who doesn’t “understand” me just because he/she doesn’t understand me in the same way that I understand other people. My doing that would be like someone else claiming that I can’t understand him/her because I’m not able to grasp his/her superior intellect. I can’t understand a person with an IQ of 150 completely, no. But I can understand the person to some degree. So, too, then, perhaps a person with less EQ (emotional quotient) than I have can still understand me, even if it’s in a different way.

            And of course, to have someone really understand me the way I desire to be understood, that person would have to be God and be able to know me more deeply than I know myself.

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            1. Eric, bravo, bravo! You put it spot on, my friend, but also with great insight and wisdom! Love the example of understanding between different IQs! That is fantastic analogy! I totally understand your description “So when I look around and don’t perceive many other people to be able to grasp the depths of my emotions like I think I’m able to grasp theirs, the result is that I don’t feel understood.” You are a kindred spirit, Eric! Peace to you, brother!

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  7. “Eric was right on when he said “bless the rest”, for without it, we are not our best. (I made a rhyme there….see that?”—you’re a poet, don’t you know it? 😉haha!

    I know exactly what you mean when you said: “interpersonal conflict with someone close leave me deeply hurt, tongue tied, speechless really, and as if I am totally incompetent at doing the very thing I want to do the most.” Yes, that is me to a T! Completely understand!

    Enjoyed having this little conversation with you! 😊

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