I am a language person so in school I took just enough science classes to cover my requirements. I also paid just enough attention to keep my GPA where I wanted it. That said, the following blog post has been reviewed for glaring errors by my long suffering science teacher friend Mr. Blizzard. He tells me that this is more chemistry and physics than earth science which makes me even more nervous than before. I passed chem by the skin of my teeth and didn’t even attempt physics so forgive me if this is an extreme over-simplification.
Scientifically speaking a meniscus is the “bubble” formed when a container is full but hasn’t spilled over just yet. I tried to recreate one yesterday afternoon in my kitchen. If you look at the left side of the glass you can see a slight curve where the water is actually over the top of the glass but not spilling. Keep that surface tension in your mind as we proceed.
But then I added one more drop of water from a straw.
Can you see the ribbon of water running down the outside of the glass?
From my very limited understanding, the water molecules in the bubble are in a state of cohesion. They are trying to hang on to one another and the rim of the glass through polar attraction. It has to do with electrons and polarity and a lot of molecular science stuff that (as previously mentioned) I don’t fully comprehend. Let’s simplify it to this point. That polarity thing creates the surface tension that keeps them together and helps them reach higher than they probably should. But one more drop adds too much mass for their polarity and they have to let go and release the extra pressure.
Yesterday was an emotionally bad day. There were several factors that fed into my mental state and for a few days I have felt like the meniscus. I was holding it together – stretched, but holding.
I was also terrified. I could feel the surface tension of my emotions and spirit and I knew one more drop of anything was going to push me over the top. My only prayer was that when that drop hit, I would be in the comfort of my own bed within arms reach of my box of tissues and I would have no obligations looming. I was not. I was in a staff meeting and I can’t even pinpoint what the drop was. All I know is one minute I was standing in the back of the room and the next I was sobbing, hyperventilating and melting in the bathroom. Not some small ribbon of tears but a tsunami that left me confused, exhausted, drained and, if I’m being raw, more than a little embarrassed.
A dear, darling and genuine friend came to my rescue and in that moment instead of giving me platitudes and “it will be ok” she said, “I have no idea how badly you hurt right now but let me stand here and hold you up.” And she cried with me.
I’ve always thought I understood the following verses but I think that was limited to my head and my academic understanding. Today my heart heard them for the first time.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
The Lord sees and hears his children cry out. As badly as I wanted to be holed up in my bed by myself when the tension broke, I needed someone to see me. I needed someone to see the hurt and help me see it too. “The righteous cry and the Lord hears.”I needed someone to hear my sobs. If a person cries in their pillow and no one is there to hear it, are they really feeling that way? “The Lord is NEAR to the brokenhearted.” He holds them up when their legs are giving out and it feels impossible to breathe so they tango with hyperventilation.
“And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
My breath was sucked out of my lungs. He doesn’t save them from BEING crushed in spirit. He saves the crushed spirits.
Everything with Momma happened so fast that I don’t think I ever registered all my feelings. I never registered the cancer and the fear that that diagnosis struck in my core. I never registered the phrase “there is nothing we can do” and the hopelessness that dropped the bottom out. I never absorbed the emptiness of her death until I tried to pick up the phone for the third time this week to call her and tell her a story about one of the kids and realized that she wasn’t going to pick up.
The meniscus grew and grew with all those emotions and suddenly without warning or reason there was one more drop. The tension broke and my spirit disintegrated like a saltine in the hand of a toddler. But here I sit, ten hours later and there is a spark of hope licking up oxygen.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
If you are stretching like a meniscus…
If your surface tension is just about maxed out…
If the tissues are just out of arms’ reach…
The Lord will deliver you.