At least half the readers of this blog will have completed the quotation in their minds in nano seconds.
I was at the new church today – and not long into the sermon it happened again. The tears were pouring down my cheeks. The kind lady sitting next to me, observing, placed an entire pack of tissues down next to me, unobtrusively and in total silence – a model of a response. I hope she did not read my reaction as sorrow though I fear she did. I was not even moved by the overt subject matter of the very good sermon on the stilling of trouble in our own lives. What had happened is something which has very rarely happened since I moved – the sermon somehow enabled me to find myself there – it opened up the reading – in this case I was in the boat with the disciples. And as so often for me, it was all totally real. And inevitably it moved me to floods of tears. What I really wanted next (oh shame on me) was not a Eucharist, but a quiet room, endless reference books and a roll of loo paper for sobbing into.
Whenever the story picks me up like this I end in tears. In fact I begin in tears. I have no idea how to explain this to others: ‘You know I was sobbing all through the service, well, I wasn’t unhappy or resolving issues, not in any ordinary way, anyhow, but the story took me with it, and when I am really in the story I nearly always am in tears. For me that place is so deeply emotional I weep from sheer excess of feeling.’ I mean it sounds nuts.
And burkas are frowned on. So I suppose I could sit near totally different people each time, in the hope they think it was just that week I was weeping. Or I could sit in one place so only a few people know. I really really do not want to avoid finding I am in the story. And yes I would love to be able to be in the story and not weep but I have no idea how to do it.
But I will complete the quotation for any who happen not to know it. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.