The big man in the white jacket grinned at us as we walked through the door. Pulling his scissors away from the head of the fellow leaned back in his barber chair, he called out a friendly greeting.
The young boy who walked beside me grinned back just as casually, as I replied for both of us. I glanced down at the 5-year old and thought about all the times he and I had walked through that door. We sat down, but didn’t have long to wait.
“Who’s getting the hair cut today?” The big man was still all smiles.
The boy was out of his seat like a flash. Jerry grabbed the booster seat and plopped it down before the lad could clamber up the leather and chrome chair. Jerry hadn’t even asked yet, but the kid was telling him what he wanted.
“I want a flat top. Oh. And, I want lightning bolts cut in the side! Both sides!”
The friendly man ruffled the boy’s hair and replied reassuringly, “I can do ‘er, son. You just sit up straight and we’ll get it done in no time.”
I jerk back to awareness and realize that I’m not in a barber shop at all, but merely sitting at my desk preparing to write.
It was yesterday I was at the barbershop.
No. Not yesterday. The boy is over thirty now.
I wipe the tears from my eyes and start to peck at letters on the keyboard in front of me.
Tears? Why tears?
I can’t help it. The bittersweet memories remind me that some things are gone beyond recall. Tears of joy mix with tears of loss.
We talked about them today at the meeting of the liar’s club. Oh, I don’t suppose we do much lying. We just expand the truth a little–make the stories a little more interesting–you know…
The meeting was in full swing at the music store when the Lovely Lady walked through. She rolled her eyes and told me that lunch was here. She knows better than to get involved when the guys are in that kind of mood.
I was lopped over the counter, very un-businesslike, as the other two old geezers sat on stools across from me. Our conversation had run the gamut already, but we still had enough material left to go all afternoon.
We were loud and nearly argumentative. Nearly. We like each other too much to really argue. We were getting ready to not argue about personal property rights, when I noticed her.
She was the only one in the place who was working.
I was the only other one who should have been working.
I told the geezers we needed to adjourn the meeting of the club and they agreed. But, before they left, we didn’t argue about whether there would be any tears in heaven. Yeah. I know. How do you get from personal property rights to tears in heaven? Can’t remember.
What I do remember is that I suddenly decided that there were going to be tears in heaven.
Otherwise, how could He wipe away every tear?
He promised to do that.
We’ll probably get together and not argue about that subject again one day soon.
They fell again the other night. A friend let us know that Jerry the barber had gone to be with his Savior. I couldn’t help it. The tears came.
No more lightning bolts cut into the sides of flat tops on the heads of little boys. No more a little off the top and sides for the fathers of the little boys. Not more discussions about music in church; no more visits as we walk past his table at the local restaurant, no more warnings from him about too much liquor (in jest, of course).
The memories played in my head and tears flowed. As the Lovely Lady sat nearby and did her needlework, I missed my friend.
Too many tears.
So many friends have lost loved ones just this week. Their tears are flowing tonight. Tears rushed from the eyes of a mom whose memories of a son, gone way too soon, hit her as she did business with us in the music store yesterday. The remembrance of 9/11 and its horrifying images, never to be forgotten, brought tears to many today.
Too many, I said.
I reminded my friends today that David the Psalm-writer was the one who suggested God keeps a record of those tears. If I read the words correctly, the tears are precious to Him–precious enough to be saved and remembered.
God has a bottle. He has a book. Are they real? Symbolic?
I don’t know. Here is what I do know:
What we feel today matters.
What we are going through right now matters.
To Him. It matters.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, that’s enough.
It’s not all I want, but it is enough.
Tomorrow, I’m going downtown to get a haircut. And remember Jerry.
And maybe cry.
I hope it’s a big bottle.
“You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?”
(Psalm 56:8 ~ NASB)
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
(Revelation 21:4 ~NLT)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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