Crying girl


I walked by a shop today and I saw a girl holding a knife, crying.

She was peeling onion for the restaurant.

Artificially induced tears. Not triggered by sad emotion.

Real, nevertheless.

It made me appreciate behind-the-scene people (since I happened to have breakfast with real onion, the same kind this girl was peeling).

Nickel-and-dime folks make a living by sweat and tears.

Or those who shed blood for our nation’s security.

Blood, sweat and tears.

My friend’s Dad who recently passed away, used to deliver a sermon on Jesus Wept.

The I-am-with-you gesture only God incarnatel can extend.

Go ahead and tell the Newtown parents to stop crying.

Tears from the onion peel might stop, but tears that well from within (induced by tragedy uncalled for) are hard to stop. Ever. They will creep up at unexpected hours, in the dark of the night, or in the middle of a crowded lunch hour.

I am sure the girl I saw had been doing this for a while, if not everyday.

She knows when to stop, but then, not stopping too long.

The mechanical reliability performed by human.

If only the owner went ahead and bought a machine.

Then the girl would be out of a job.

She would then be crying for real.

Some factory girl in China would dutifully ship the order, my job over yours.

Blood, sweat and tears.

We were “cursed” to toil the ground per breaking the contract with our Maker. For now, tears to make a living in Saigon, tears for neighbor’s kids in Newtown, Our Town, and tears in Heaven, as Eric Clapton put it.

Yes, we need perspectives and point of view to overcome tragedy. We also need help and comfort from one another (in Newtown, strangers gave each other a hug, very needed hug). No man’s an island. Many eat onion, some don’t. But someone got to peel the damn thing. What I saw today was real tears. What I saw on the NYT photos the other day, was digital, but real nevertheless. Jesus wept. Not just Crying Girl, but also Crying God.

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