Saturday, January 15, 2011

On Crying...

You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
–Psalms 56:8-9
                As a boy I was told that real men don’t cry, but that the shortest verse in Bible was “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). I figure that people lied to me, because Jesus most certainly was a real man and a manly man if any man can truly be manly. So that meant that real man can and do cry. I figured they just don’t in public. In my mind tears are like a cleansing rain for your soul, without them your soul will stay dirty and gross. I am very in-touch with my emotions and I am not shy about expressing them one bit; if I feel the need to scream and yell I will, if I need to laugh I laugh with reckless abandon, if I am happy you will see me smile and dancing about, and if I need to cry I will. I have learned the power of crying, not power as in something that will get things done outwardly but that inward release. I don’t go around crying all the time, it is only whipped out when necessary, I don’t cleanse my soul every five seconds like a housewife who just loves to scrub the tub so much that the paint starts coming off. But when I see injustice being celebrated as justice, I cry, when I see children suffering intolerable cruelties at the hands of adults who know better, I cry, when I think about all of the goodness of the Lord and how He made a way for me to walk in freedom and dignity instead of in sorrow and despair, I cry. I cry for joy at the sight of orphans being adopted and welcomed into their new “forever families”. Laughing through tears is a rather enjoyable experience; I love it because it reminds me how God can turn mourning into dancing, and sorrow into joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5, 11a) I think everyone should spend more time crying, not a lot, just more than they do. Crying is good for you, it allows you to release those pent up emotions, mostly ones you are afraid of dealing with.
                For me crying also is vulnerability, it leaves you open. Some of my best moments with God have come after tears (one or two after I was yelling at Him, but that doesn’t happen often). In relationships with people crying in-front of others (when it is appropriate) always seems to deepen a relationship. After someone has cried on your shoulder you will automatically feel closer to them. Sure, science has proven that it’s because tears have hormones in them that cause our bodies to want to be more compassionate to crying people, but before science ruined the mystery we just knew that crying brings people together. Even on the playground when another kid starts crying before a mom or dad comes to pick up the child, the other kids surround them and ask “What’s wrong” or “Are you okay?” In the same way crying causes our brothers and sisters in Christ to ask about us, to look after us. It reinforces our community of faith before the Father comes to pick us up and make our “boo-boos” better.  It is sad but sometimes the only way to wake up our fellow believers is tears, keep in mind the prophet Jeremiah was a “weeping prophet”.
                To sum up my rant on crying, I leave you with the words of Jesus “Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.”(Luke 6:21b) I love that crying isn’t where it all ends, but where the joy actually begins. Not only does joy come in the morning, but the joy is encouraged by the tears, like rain brings life to plants, tears give joy the momentum to enter in your life (At least in my mind). If you find yourself in a state of emotional constipation, let it all out with a good cry.