“It’s okay to cry” may be one of the nicest things you could ever tell a friend who is suffering and overwhelmed. Let her know tears won’t scare you away. Lisa shares.
“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.’” (Genesis 21:17)
It is okay to cry. I don’t know if anyone has ever told you that. I don’t know who ever put the notion into our head that tears are a sign of weakness. Allowing yourself to feel all the emotions and letting them rise to the top where they literally seep out of your body has got to be one of the strongest things a person can do.
For those with chronic illness, not only are there multiple emotions of fear, worry, concern, lack of control and more, but we are on and off of medications that can significantly change our mood in less than a moment. I have spent a week in the hospital with a life-threatening infection and never shed a tear–nor did I cry for about a month after that. I was afraid that once I started the tears wouldn’t stop, but I could have used a friend who said, “Hey, it’s okay to cry. Let it go.”
Another time I visited a teenager in the hospital I didn’t even know. Someone called and asked me to come. I talked to her briefly and told her it was okay to cry with me and within seconds she was sobbing and letting it all out. She had been holding in the tears from her family and friends because she didn’t want them to see how worried she was.
No one told her, “It’s okay to cry.” They just emphasized how proud of her they all were for “being so strong and brave.” I recall the nurse coming in and asking me, “What did you say to her? What did you do? She’s hasn’t cried all week until you arrived!” I just stood there feeling guilty, but knowing she needed to be told it was okay to cry.
In the scripture above, Hagar’s son is crying. We often assume he is a young, boy, but he is actually about sixteen years old–old enough to be “a man” in the historical culture. Yet, God doesn’t tell her to make her son get a grip, to man-up, to stop the tears. He sends an angel that says, “He has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” God heard the tears and sent an angel to find out how the teenager’s mother needed comforted.
If you have a friend with an invisible illness, there are many ways to bring comfort to him or her. But surprisingly, one of your greatest gifts could be to just hand her a tissue box and say, “Hey, it’s okay to cry around me. I’m not going anywhere.”
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She invites you to join the virtual conference this week for Invisible Illness Awareness Week. She is the author of various books for those who live with chronic illness, including, 2 Bible studies, “When Chronic Illness Enters Your Life” and “Learning to Live with Chronic Illness” at the Rest Ministries shop.
Has anyone ever told you, “It’s okay to cry. Let it all out. I won’t leave you. I will just sit here and hold the tissue box until you are done”? What did it feel like to have someone trustworthy who didn’t say you had to be brave?
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Things TO SAY to an ill person #4 If you need a good cry, I’ve got plenty of tissues and a shoulder. It’s ok 2 cry. #iiwk12
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It’s okay to cry! This song “Ok To Cry” is from Phillip LaRue and I think the lyrics will bless you today.