Courage in Suffering

Excerpted from

A Man Worth Waiting For; How to Avoid a Bozo

By

Don't necessarily enjoy sports on TV, but I do like watching the last few minutes of an event. I have always enjoyed seeing a man's response when he wins or loses. On Sunday, July 23, 2006, I was washing dishes and catching the last few minutes of the British Open. When Tiger Woods won, he turned to give a celebration hug to his caddy. The hug lasted longer than one would have expected. Then the camera moved in closer and I could see that Tiger had started to weep. My husband explained that Tiger s dad had died, so Tiger wouldn't be receiving his usual congratulatory hug from his dad.

Tiger did not simply tear up, he wept, and his tears continued as his inner circle greeted him as he walked off the golf course. Of course I was tearing up also. I watched as each person wept and hugged Tiger. I was totally impressed with the emotional freedom Tigers inner circle gave him. His trainer, coach, and wife all embraced him and his tears.

Later in an interview Tiger said, "I could not hold back the tears anymore, I miss my dad so much." One of the greatest athletes in the world couldn't avoid showing his pain, though he tried.

For me. Tiger Woods won more than the British Open that Sunday. Tiger grew in courage as a man to express his true feelings, even if they provoked tears. There were two "Opens" that Sunday: the British Open and the Heart Open!

Being a woman, I am cognizant of the terror that men feel in relation to the "icky" feelings that may flow if they ever allow themselves to look at their heart wounds. A Man Worth Waiting For has the nonnegotiable quality of courage to examine the wounds he carries in the deepest parts of his heart. He even invites God into the process: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life" (Ps. 139:23-24 NLT).

One of my favorite young men. Cody McQueen, reflected:

When David asked the Lord to search his heart and find any offensive way in him in Psalm 139, he was asking the Lord to know him in order that he may know God. As men in the twenty-first century, we have become very good at masking who we are. We have been told we are to be the strong ones, the providers, and the rocks of our families, businesses, and friendships. But so often we are trying to maintain our facade of stability while ignoring the shaky ground that is the "bedrock" of our souls.

A Boaz, is willing to go to the inmost place for any healing or renovation needed to be the best image-bearer on earth. "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place" (Ps. 51:6).

A MWWF Doesn't Fear Tears - His or Others'

I wonder if, when King David heard that his firstborn, Prince Amnon, had raped Princess Tamar, he practiced that manly habit of disconnecting his head from his heart. The Scripture says David was "furious'' about it, but he did nothing. In fact, one translation says, "but David did not grieve the spirit of Amnon his son, for he loved him because he was his firstborn." I think denial is the ability to disconnect the head from the heart.

When Tamar's brother Absalom found out what happened, he said something that reflects the head/heart disconnection and reveals the "fixer" tendency in all men. They'd much rather fix the problem than act as compassionate listeners and comforters. He saw Tamar weeping and said: "Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart" (2 Sam. 13:20).

Don't take it to heart. Excuse me, but a woman can't keep rape from invading her heart! Sexual abuse is a soul-killing crime. I have watched men who are so uncomfortable with a weeping woman that they spurt these phrases. But like David, these men don't really help.

Ironically, Absalom told Tamar to be quiet while a volcano began to surge within his own heart. Disconnection between the head and heart often leads to a volcanic eruption. Emotions can't stay stuffed or ignored forever. Absalom arranged for the murder of his brother. Anger held in fermented into murder.

If David and Absalom had not reverted to the easy disconnect from their hearts, something wiser could have been done about Amnon s rape of Tamar.

Record of a Warrior's Tears

Look at these verses: "Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll-are they not in your record?" (Ps. 56:8) and "Morning, noon and night I plead aloud in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice" (Ps. 55:17). These verses were not written by a melancholy woman but by the great warrior poet of Israel, King David. David was a brave leader who so inspired his army that they would gladly die in battle for him. This warrior was not afraid of the battle in the wilderness or the battle within his soul. He was a man not paralyzed in the presence of tears or ashamed of his own. This makes his lack of reaction in the Tamar incident even more baffling.

I have seen a man paralyzed by tears. A man and his wife came over for dinner. While we were talking, the wife began to weep. Her husband sat stone-faced. Ken and I both jumped up to hug her and pat her on the shoulder.

I know people have different attitudes about the public expression of emotion. I have probably made thousands uncomfortable with my emotional freedom. But even Jesus wept, and I know that God would not have created humans with tear ducts if we didn't need an emotional release once in a while. He knows our heads and hearts must be connected if we're to be healthy people-and compassionate people.




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