On the subject of crying
the gift of tears
This is the first in a series of three posts. They will likely be slightly emotional… a misleading word for heavy. I've been writing these stories in my head since October. It's time to share them, a new year with fresh beginnings, a hope I sense drifting among the clouds that still dot the skies over our little town of Cool as we move toward the close of winter and the beginning of spring; what better time?
Let’s talk crying… I’ve written about crying before, and likely will again. I am a massive advocate of crying. I joke that if there was a crying event at the Olympics, I'd be a shoo-in for the Gold, even at the tender age of 67, which you can't say for most sports. Typically the older you get, the less chance you have of a medal.
Crying is something that, for the most part, our muscles have no control over, so we senior citizens actually can compete. Different aspects of being human control this event… namely our heart/mind/soul.
Our bodies are incredibly miraculous in their day-to-day functions, which makes it extremely easy to overlook the minor miracle of our ability to cry.
Many reject their tears believing that they are useless. It's my belief that they are anything but. They are the caretakers that arrive to clean up the mess, to put out the fires deep within. In a sense, they act as our own private firefighter/first responder.
See this guy? That's my dad. See that look on his face? He's on the verge of tears in this photo. His throat has closed, and he's on pause, waiting for the emotion to settle down, so he can speak again.
I can't even count how often I experienced this look on my father's face. If he was proud of me for something I had done, his throat closed, his facial features changed, and his eyes filled. For all his many shortcomings, this was his saving grace. I forgave him pretty much anything in the end because his tears told me all I needed to know about his soul.
It seems I inherited my dad's potential for crying. In my younger years, I fought it. I, at times, felt defeated because I couldn't control my eyes or my throat. Tears would accumulate and drop if someone told me something sad or I became too angry. And my throat would follow suit, closing as if on cue, like the curtain dropping at times before the end of the act.
For many years I worked to hide my tears or apologize for them if I couldn't hide them. Then came the day I began to appreciate my ability to emote pure and unabashed emotion. The more I came to peace with my tears, the lighter my spirit became. And most importantly, the easier it became to share my tears with others without apology.
That ability has changed my life. I've come to understand that when I share tears with another, an inexplicable connection occurs. I'd like to think it's God's spirit. But regardless of a definition for the phenomenon, I'm convinced it happens, and it's a feeling unparalleled.
My dad often repeated the phrase, the eyes are the windows of the soul. I became a believer as well, because that's where the connection lies when you cry with another. A meeting of the eyes filled with tears says more than a thousand words.
More… next week.