I’ve been told that there are those
Who will learn how to fly
And I’ve been told that there are those
Who will never die…
And I’ve been told that there are stars
That will never lose their shine
And that there is a Morning Star
Who knows my mind…
The Christian singing group 2nd Chapter of Acts recorded this song in 1978 on an album by the same name. When I was in high school I sang solos and in the Central Baptist Church choir. I sang this song several times during the years and never really thought about the words. Recently these words have hit home to me more than ever. I absolutely love the Mansion Builder album. This harmony is the closest, best among siblings I have ever heard. Matthew Ward is the brother in the group. He has many single albums as well.
For me as a grieving mother I am comforted by the idea that God saves and knows every tear that I have cried. In the first few months alone I am sure I cried an ocean full of tears. I am not sure if when I get to heaven I expect to see all my tears or if God will show me shelves full of tear bottles that He used to save my tears in. I believe that God saves each one of my tears as treasures.
And I’ve been told that there’s a
Crystal lake in the sky
And every tear from my eyes
Is saved when I cry…
And I’ve been told there’ll come a time
When the sun will cease to shine
And that there is a Morning Star
Who knows my mind…
In ancient Roman and Egyptian times it is said that people used small glass vessels or bottles to collect the tears. These tears were used as a way to show mourning and respect for the loss. These bottles were sometimes placed in the tombs as a symbol of respect. There are legends to indicate that some women may have been paid to cry into the bottles as they walked in the mourning procession. It was rumored that the ones crying the loudest and producing the most tears would receive the highest compensation for their tears. The deceased person was to be said to be more important or valued by the number of tear bottles in the tomb.
|Replica of the ancient Roman tear bottles|
Tear bottles have been part of our world’s history since before Christ was born. It is hard to say when the tear bottles first began. A Biblical reference in Psalms, when David prays to God, was written over 1000 years before Christ was born. Psalms 58:8 (KJV) “Thou tellest my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book?” David’s words remind us that God keeps a record of human pain and suffering, and always remembers our sorrows.
Tear bottles reappeared during the Victorian period of the 19th century. The tears were collected into tear bottles that were ornately decorated with silver, gold and pewter on the outside. The more special the loved one the more ornate the bottle would be decorated. Once filled the bottles had special stopper that allowed the tears to evaporate out of the bottle. It was thought that once the tears were evaporated, the mourning period would be over. The bottle would remain as a token of eternal devotion.
|Replica of the Victorian tear bottles|
Tear bottles were rumored used during the Civil War by women who cried into the bottles. They saved their tears till their soldier husbands returned home from war. Their collection of tears would show their husbands just how much they were missed and adored while they were gone.
Tear bottles are commonly called a lachrymatory or a tear catcher. It measures about two to four inches in height. Most are made out of glass or ceramic and the body of the bottle is shaped in the form of a teardrop. The bottle usually has a tall narrow neck and a small decorative cap. The cap connects to a stopper and is often made out of rubber, to preserve the tears or a cork, which allows for evaporation.
Tear bottles are making a comeback again. The true antique bottles are found in the country of origin and usually run 100’s if not 1000’s of dollars. Reproductions are often sold are the original item. There are several places around the country that make hand blown glass tear bottles today. They take great pride in hand crafting these precious bottles. There are very simple ones and very ornate ones available today.
|Modern tear bottles|
Tear bottles today are given to symbolize shared feelings of joy, love, sorrow and remembrance for others. Such occasions include weddings and the birth of a baby. They are long lasting gifts the as anyone who has been married or had a child knows…there are tears of joy and sorrow that accompany these relationships. It is also a very meaningful gift to give in times of sadness, such as an illness or a death. It also acknowledges that you realize that tears are a part of the sadness and that it is ok to cry. Something that is needed much more in today’s society.
|My tear bottle|
I recently found out about tear bottles. I have decided that I will be giving these as tokens of love to my loved ones that are grieving. I think it is very symbolic and honoring to the one who died and to the one that remains here. I purchased mine and over the next few months will be purchasing 3 more for the time being. As special as tear bottles are…my hope and prayer is that I do not have to give many of these away…
Tears do not have to be sad, they can be at moments of great joy. The most moving tears I have seen was Aunt Missy crying tears of great joy the moment Pea was born. Bill captured the moment with a photo. Looking back now it is an amazing photo. The amount of overwhelming joy and love that Heather had for Pea spilled out at the moment she took her first breathe.
|Aunt Missy~Tears of Joy~February 2009|
The most moving tear that I believe I will ever see is a tear that Heather had one night in ICU. Heather was on the vent and we had come back to tuck our turnip in for the night. She was heavily sedated but the paralytic drug had not yet been given. As I leaned down to whisper in her ear goodnight, Heather turned her face to me to snuggle into my face. I told her I loved her and how proud I was of her. When I raised my face to see her again she had a tear fall out of her eye. I have no idea what that tear meant. But I think it was a tear of great love. These would be the last tears I ever saw from her.
“There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not a mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”