My family was not an emotional family.
Well, I shouldn't say that exactly.
Good Monday friends.
I should be in bed getting much needed sleep for Teen Camp in a few hours but thoughts are a buzz and I wanted to get them down when the only noise is the living room fan and the ticking of the mantel clock.
My family WAS emotional- we felt all the things and you could feel our excitement as we spoke louder than the other to show that enthusiasm in whatever was on our mind at the time.
We are loud DeLeons.
I remember watching my husband our first Thanksgiving at "My Place."
His eyes grew with the noise level as we laughed and yelled and laughed some more.
I even remember us being hungry and needing Joel (The resident Preacher) to pray for our meal and he just happened to be in the rest room.
You know the place with "rest" in the name signifying you can be away from a crowd and be left alone?
Well not at my place.
Everyone yelled him straight outta that bathroom to pray so we could get to the stuffing.
Oh this makes me laugh in the middle of the night now thinking about it!
We were emotional, but we weren't criers.
We took things "on the chin" and just kept the sadness to ourselves.
I remember my Dad taking me to the local Christian bookstore.
There was a tape (yes, this was back when Lincoln lived in a log cabin) there that had a song on it that meant something to him and he wanted to find it.
And I wanted to help him.
It was on a Bill Gaither "Homecoming" album and it was a song about heaven.
We sat in the car and this woman who had the most unique voice I had ever heard sang us both absolutely still.
I'm not sure how soon this was after my Dad had lost his Mom, my Grandma, but I don't think it was that long after.
I watched him and knew he was thinking about her in heaven.
And then tears began to stream down his face as we just sat in the car parked in the driveway listening.
Now that I'm 44 I know what I would have done in that very moment, but young adult Deena was nervous and unsure of what to do.
Us DeLeons didn't cry in front of one another.
This was only the second time I had seen my Dad cry.
The first was at my Grandma's funeral.
I was in college when she passed away- the very day she received a letter from me telling her that I was praying that if it was the Lord's will, He would just take her on home to heaven with Him.
She never got to read those words.
I was out on an Ensemble trip for the school when the funeral arrangements were settled and I caught a lonely long bus ride to Cleveland.
I remember my Ensemble leader like a Dad to me, bought my ticket home with his own money and my dear then not husband actually walked me to my seat, gave me his jacket and his cassette player (Abe Lincoln....) to keep me from being afraid to be there alone.
They were so sweet to do that for me.
I bussed all the way home to sing at the funeral with the Pastor's wife.
I remember wanting so badly to cry but tears just wouldn't come.
I also remember how badly I sounded out of hoarseness from traveling and singing and little to no sleep, but I did my best to be a blessing that day.
And just a bit later here my Dad and I were sitting in the car quietly listening together.
In my mind's eye I can still picture very clearly the driveway, the car and my Dad's face.
I wish I could go back, wrap both arms around my Dad, bury my head into his neck and let his tears all fall onto my arms.
But I cannot.
I can only wish that I had.
I didn't know what to do with tears then.
Then my mind goes to my husband's Grandfather.
I remember how grateful I was to have Grandparents to enjoy well into our marriage after all of mine were gone.
I remember him telling me more than a few times about tears, "If the eyes leak the head won't swell."
I LOVE that.
I loved hearing him say that, and realizing that tears just show an open and humble heart before the Lord and before those around you.
I watched his own heart soften as he neared heaven until he couldn't even pray anymore aloud for the tears that caught in his throat.
It was and still is a precious memory for me.
And again, I wish I could go back and sit on his back patio and thank him for helping me welcome tears instead of fight them back.
I do know this.
I have tears for Orphaned children finally found, for driver's licenses earned, for flowers for spoiled apple pie filling, for friend's children's weddings just heard about on Marco Polo.
I have tears for newly understood Psalms, for answers to prayers to find silly things, for thankfulness that every bed is filled tonight, and for offers of coffee before we head to camp.
I'm not exactly sure when the Lord turned the faucet on for me but it's had a slow leak ever since.
And I'm not sad one bit about it.
Leaky eyes keep this Momma humble.
They make me a better wife, daughter, friend and neighbor.
This week I took a gift to my local Pharmacist.
Believe me she deserved it.
And when I tired to hurry and tell her what I appreciated about her I got that same familiar feeling in my chest.
And out trickled a few tears.
And it was okay.
I've never dehydrated from thankfulness yet.
I think all of the DeLeon back-payment tears have been assigned to my oldest sister Dawn and I.
Maybe we are just the honorees of years of tears we didn't show.
We can wear our tears like a badge of honor and know that we are taking one for the "Home Team."
I can't imagine what it must have been like to see the Lord Jesus weep.
If it was like my Dad, one tear would have sent the multitude's lips quivering.
And I cannot fathom how the Lord keeps our tears as in Psalm 56:8- “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”
I picture several fifty gallon drum-looking bottles for Deena Royalty.
I've always wanted to author a book and there you have it, I most likely have published several volumes with these two eyes alone.
And do you see there that my tears are in HIS bottle and HIS book?
They become his property.
The tears that I've had to brush away while typing this out way late into the night are added to that collection as well.
I can only wonder why he keeps them, but in my wondering I see the preciousness in the fact that he DOES keep them.
I've tried to keep the most precious notes and cards and firsts my kids have given me, but I cannot keep them all.
I don't have the space to house all of the special things.
But God sure does.
I hope my tears are in something like Blue Ball jars that will line the windows of my home in heaven.
No one knows for sure.
This I do know.
Tears are welcomed with me.
Grandpa Poor told me that it's just a sign of a softened heart and I don't know anyone who doesn't look good with one of those.
Leaky eyes are okay in my book.