Friday, August 20, 2010

Tears and Crying (Lessons I am Learning in Death, Dying, Grief, and Living)

Okay, on occasion I can be a mushy, sentimental, old sap.  I was made for the Kleenex commercials that talk about all those lovely transitions of life.  I went through 2-3 tissues whenever those commercials came on.  I'm sure it was great for sales.  I like to think of myself most of the time as pragmatic and realistic about life.  I'm not really what you might call a 'crier;' however, sometimes things bring out the really mushy side of me.  For example, I will cry whenever someone else cries, even if whatever is causing their tears really doesn't affect me.  I can go to the funeral of someone I do not know, and will empathize with the family - the husband or wife who lost a spouse, the parent who lost a child, the child who lost a parent.  This is part of what I bring when I counsel those who are grieving and sit with them in their grief.  I personally cry more at sorrow than shed 'tears of joy.'  I really don't even understand that phrase much.  Let's face it, God made us to have this way to express emotion, and we are all created to have emotion.

However, sometimes this emotional release is downright annoying.  Especially when you have so many sources of your tears, that the wells overflow repeatedly and often without warning.  I still cry over my dad's passing, and will for some time to come.  Those tears mix with the tears of missing my baby girl as she goes off to college.  Those tears mix with pain of seeing Christians not acting like Christians.  Those tears mix with my tears for another mother who lost a child. There are so many sources, I feel as if the well which holds my tears overflows, and there is no place for them.

In the middle east they have what is called lacrymatories or tear jars.  These jars are to hold the tears one shed's as they grieve over a loved one.  You can find the complete story here.  When I went to Israel/Palestine last year, I purchased a few of these jars for a few special friends, of course keeping one for myself.  There is a Roman Catholic Church on the Mount of Olives called Dominus Flevit.  It is said from this location Jesus wept over Jerusalem.  There are tear jars on the corners of this church to signify the tears Jesus shed for Jerusalem. 

Tears are just as much a part of life as pain, dying, joy, and celebration.  We cannot hide from our tears, as much as we may try, they catch up to us.  I appreciate those in the media who do not make it 'weak' to cry.  After all, our Lord wept, and we will do the same.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, honey. Maybe I will remember your words when I need to cry, and happen to be in front of people. I rarely cry in front of anyone, no matter what. In my family of origin, crying was 'not done', scorned and discouraged. I am grateful for those who have shown me a better way. Tears help so much. They really are cleansing and healing.


Rev. Sonja said...

Curtiss Ann, I think we are too often told we are not to demonstrate emotion, but if we do not handle it appropriately it just builds inside us. I have tried to create safe spaces for my children to be able to show emotion.

Blessings on your journey!