When Happy Tears and Green Pastures Prevail

June 3, 2015 Jennifer 3 Comments

“Mom… you cry happy tears?”

“Yes. They are happy. I’m watching this video of a kid I don’t even know on a reality show and I am so happy he made it (My other children gather because if mom’s crying happy tears it’s gonna be good). He made it despite such odds against him. He had an accident that gave him a stutter but he’s really funny and he made it. Look, the crowd loves him! They are cheering for him!”

I love it when the underdog wins. Or when the audience is shocked by a voice that sounds like heaven and no one expected it or even saw it coming from the person that it came from. Or when a company surprises all of it’s employees with money or items that they really need. Or when soldiers come home to surprise their children. I cry happy tears because I can’t help myself and it overwhelms me in the best way.

“Mom… like China?”

The way this little girl studies my face when I cry happy tears – the kind that you can’t stop – and how she always brings it back to that moment when I cried happy tears when the nanny placed her in my arms in that dusty government office on the sixth floor.

“Yes, just like China. So happy.”

“When I’m a mom, I cry happy tears too.”

The simple resolve in her statement moves me to more happy tears. Her gaze to the future, of the complexity of motherhood and the desire to be like her mom. Better than any reality show video streaming across my computer screen – this is our current reality and it is sweet. When tears of pain and desperation turn to happy tears.

With so many things to grieve in the current state of our world, today I am simply celebrating the happy tears as the gift they are. When the little girl who refused to be held by me wants to shed tears like me when she’s a mother. When the little girl who would not and could not sit near us on our living room rug, now marches like a boss to her first gymnastics class and owns that gym. Sitting in a row of leotard clad toddlers, she is stretching just a little further than everyone else and waving proudly at her siblings who stand glued to the window, hovering and watching her every move to determine if she will be ok. They are ready to pounce on anyone who would make her feel less than extraordinary. She’s more than ok, she’s thriving. Happy tears at the window.

While I’ve done this parenting gig long enough to understand changing seasons, I will still celebrate the normal of these days, knowing that they may not always stay that way. We aren’t working to change a behavior, we are no longer purposed to attach, and we aren’t calculating every move to insure an atmosphere of security. She is simply secure and making fish faces with her lips, singing loud and dressing as a princess.

“When I’m a mom, I wear lipstick.”
“When I’m a mom, I buy Tic Tacs.”
“When I’m a mom, I vacuum.”

(Obviously, this mom is living the dream. I really am.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about green pastures for myself and the ones I love. How we come panting and worn most of the time, stumbling into them exhausted and low on hope. Kinda like this guy.


(image source)

We can’t even get ourselves up right again.

Desperation and helplessness before a good Father produces good things. But what about the other small but beautiful times when we are in green pastures and don’t even know it? When it’s green all around and all we have to do is stop and give thanks and take it in? Nothing pressing, nothing burdensome, just green. I’ve been tossing those famous verses around in my head a lot lately, how He makes me lie down in the green and when I do, there is restoration. I closed my eyes this past week and put myself there – normally I can get there and I’m looking and searching and waiting for deposits of revelation and wisdom and the next thing. This past week, instead of searching the stars from that place, I lay face down and smelled the grass. The newly cut smell – breathed it in and looked oh so closely at each blade, thanking Him for the glory in it all. Realizing that I didn’t come stumbling in from personal pain, but that I could just be. Be still and listen to the song that was singing for Him in all of that green. I don’t have to leave it. Easy to miss it and easy to wreck it with a life that has forward motion and forward purpose all of the time.

So, I’m sitting in green pastures today – especially as I watch Grace glide through the start of a summer alive with possibility. I’m savoring each blade of grass that touches my cheek with a “When I’m a mom…” beginning and ending with a profound observation from the heart of a little three year old. With lips that still need fixing and speech that is still hard to understand – she is happy. Happy tears in green pastures.


3 responses to “When Happy Tears and Green Pastures Prevail”

  1. Whitney says:

    Lovely, Jen. Really really love this word picture.

    • Jen Barnett says:

      Thanks friend. It’s one that I keep traveling to often these days and was birthed out of a place of being overwhelmed with the advice, the lists, the parenting goals, the must-dos and the never ending better way to do things. Green pastures. Wanted to give hope that things can and do often begin to rest happy.

  2. Jenn Beckwith says:

    Thanks. 🙂

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