the weak response

Sunday we went to church at New Covenant Fellowship again. And during the song "We Exalt Thee" I started crying. I didn't know why, and that scared me; was I getting overwhelmed already, after only a month?

Later I thought over some of the scenes from this past week:

Hearing that the couple that just moved out of here, who we congratulated and rejoiced with, is now doing drugs in their new apartment.

Talking with the woman with two children and finding out her sister had pushed them out of the grandmother's home onto the street, and seemed to be trying to get custody of the kids.

Bringing out some food and blankets for Dan and his dog, and listening while he explained how his van (his only home, with all his belongings) had been towed in a random sweep to discourage football fans from parking in a McDonald's parking lot during games.

Seeing Willy again, who had been injured in a fight on our porch, now in a neck brace with ugly red scrapes on his face, sitting in our kitchen after receiving food and blankets again--and calmly saying he might try to sue us.
How do you respond to this? I've heard some volunteers say, "It's no big deal, I've seen this again and again; you better get used to it." That's said easily, but I think the path to that answer is a hard and sad one. Then there's the tendency to just slam the door. Another volunteer spoke of that. When there's just too many people asking for things, too many hard-luck stories, too many to keep the door open because they just keep coming in. But how often can we slam the door before we just keep it shut?

Then there's the weak response. Tears. I think they scare me because in situations with so much need, tears feel like giving in to helplessness. They feel like a collapse. And if we're crying, who's answering the door?

But after pondering that all day yesterday, I believe that tears may be exactly what is needed. Because it's not us who are responsible for holding things together. It's God. What we're asked to do is try. And to care. And weep with those who weep. Even if we trust God completely so that we do not despair but fully believe that all things work together for good, we can still cry for the suffering and confusion of those we meet. If we really love them, we will cry.

I shouldn't be afraid of facing the next person because I might cry. I should be confident that I can face the next person because I might cry.