Sometimes you just have those crying days. Those days when the tide fills and swells, and the tears come.
Often, you feel them building at the least expected and the least convenient of times. They come when you are alone, and they come when you are in public. You feel raw, and it takes very little to chafe against the surface of your skin, and you are exposed.
The tears themselves are not always straightforward. On occasions they are outright torrential tears of hurt, or sorrow, but at other moments, they are more complex, more mixed. I find that even an experience with the very good or beautiful can bring them on. Even the most mundane and ordinary moment can poke holes in the wellspring of your heart.
Like just the other day I was watching E and W play with the other kids from our house on the driveway. I watched the way their faces followed one anothers for a response as they rode their trikes wild down the hill into the gate. They wanted to catch something of each others’ joy. It’s a beautiful thing to see them forming these friendships, becoming their own little social beings, free from us, separate together. But it makes me feel tender, and vulnerable.
They don’t tell you when you become a parent that vulnerability will be your ever-present shadow.
And all this crying – you could call it a response to hormones, or tiredness, or circumstance, but you could also just call it being human. There is, after all, an awful lot to cry about. I heard somewhere that the chemical ingredients in tears heal, that the process is itself cathartic.
It appears I’ve been having one of those crying days, weeks, seasons. But it helps to remember it isn’t all bad. Tears are a part of life. They mean that we feel. And love. Biblical characters cried. Think of Paul shedding tears for his beloved churches, or the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil, wetting them with her tears. The psalmists spend, it seems, a lot of time crying.
Sure, some people will be uncomfortable with another person’s emotion, but most times, at least in my experience, I’ve found tears to be a bridge to community and commonality, rather than an obstacle.
And until that day when he wipes every tear from our eyes (oh, how I love this image) it seems they are here to stay.
So, if you are like me, and having one of those crying days, I say cry away.
I, at least, won’t try to stop you.