I can cry on demand. Just give me five minutes and my imagination, and I’ll be able to do it. But you would never, ever guess what I can imagine that would bring on the waterworks. So by that token, you can rule out grief, loss, childhood memories, and fears about grief, loss, and childhood memories; it is so much more than that.
Years ago, I caught a clip on the news of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Do any of you recall that spectacular opening? The ceremony itself lasted four hours and cost $100 million dollars—double that spent in Athens four years prior. More than 30,000 fireworks were used. And 91,000 spectators were in the $423 million dollar stadium built for the event. When they say China took the world stage, they weren’t kidding. But the segment that resonated with me the most was the drummers—2,008 of them (get it?)—and the sheer booming sound of them drumming together in unison. I may have had my TV volume turned up quite a bit, but I remember the brilliant sound of the final beat, when all had played their hearts out and made such an impact performing together. It was a sound that could rock right through your body and put you in awe.
I’m not done, yet. That won’t make me cry, unless I have enough time to come up with a heartfelt story about how one of the audience members was there with the Make-a-Wish foundation and always wanted to be an Olympic athlete. Oh, man, I am getting a knot already.
A few years after I saw this drum performance on TV, and being that I am an emotional person who puts seeming random things together, I managed to link that sound to my favorite Scripture in the Bible. It’s Philippians 2:9-10: Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. According to the Population Reference Bureau, that would be 108 billion people who have ever lived. If 2,008 drummers can produce an awe-inspiring beat together, imagine the thunderous sound of every single human being who is living and every single soul who has ever lived being brought simultaneously to their knees. Imagine students in every classroom, workers in every business, patients in every hospital, everyone walking the streets of New York or London or Tokyo, every celebrity, every politician, every poor person, every rich person, and every driver on the road, stopping what they were doing and bending to their knees to pay heed to the very Creator of all things. The overwhelming power of God could be reflected in a sonic wave of pure awe and reverence for His name. Think about it. His name is simply a label; we can’t even fathom the endless power He actually has. That’s how big He is.
When I imagine that kind of power in God, I am so overwhelmed that I cry authentic, roll-down-the-cheek tears.
Usually when I tell someone this tiny detail about myself, they look at me like “oh, that’s nice.” And they probably walk away thinking I’m a bit odd. This includes my kids, who shake their heads at their silly mother. That’s okay. But surely out of 108 billion people who have ever lived, someone else has imagined that sound, too.
Maybe someday I will hear it. I just hope I’m well-hydrated.