Grace Notes: Overcome With Emotion

By Debora Coty

It was Thanksgiving.

My extended family had gathered from far and wide around the food-laden table: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, my dear husband and our own beloved children.
The souls most precious to me in all the world.

Noisy, messy, hungry, healthy, happy.

The fact that we were all there together went straight to my heart. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Papa God for this incredible blessing.

As conversation swelled during the passing of food and heaping of plates, I quietly fled. The lump in my throat threatened to suffocate me and I simply had to find an isolated spot in a back bedroom where I could let loose and weep a little weep (one of my all-time favorite lines from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women).

Can you recall a time when you, too, were overcome by emotion?

I came across such a scene in scripture recently … it was the story of Joseph, when his treacherous, treasonous brothers from his painful past had suddenly reappeared around his own table, not recognizing him, and bringing with them a multitude of conflicting feelings and the little brother he didn’t know he had.

“Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to cry. Going into his private room, he wept there” (Genesis 43:30 NLT).

I found this passage very confirming and quite comforting. We don’t always have to be strong … stoic … appearing to have it all together. Being overcome with emotion is a good thing sometimes. It cracks the plaster wall of self-confidence we’ve erected to protect ourselves from wounded feelings.
But when we filter out hurt feelings, we risk forgetting how to feel at all.

So Joseph’s plaster cracked. The dignified, game-faced ruler of Egypt, felt that day. He felt deeply. And he wept.

It’s okay for us to feel too, dear friends. Weeping a little weep can cleanse the soul.

One parting observation about this passage – I had to LOL at verse 31, which occurred immediately after Joseph’s secret purge of erupting emotion: “Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, ‘Let’s eat’” (MSG).

Ha! It’s good to know that somebody else is governed by his stomach besides just you and me. Have a blessed and emotion-filled Thanksgiving!