What’s Making You Cry These Days?

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I think we all need to cry more often.

We too often become cynical, too big for our britches, or just emotionally worn out (numb). You don’t feel like feeling. Then, one day, out in the parking lot, hauling your bags out of Target you see a young mom struggling to put her child and giant purse into the minivan. A memory hits you right between the eyes and all the way down to your soul. Bam!

Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I’m crying without warning over things that aren’t necessarily that moving. I just am overwhelmed for some reason and whatever it is – it floods out. It’s not a sadness or unhappy feeling. What I’ve been experiencing is just a flood of emotion that spills out. I was describing a documentary about public education in America today among friends and I got all choked up.

What’s on your list these days?

  • A modern day despot invading a weak and helpless neighbor country?
  • That Christmas commercial of the grandpa lifting weights? Oh my goodness! Who cares if it is Dutch.
  • A senior class of underprivileged high school students hearing from a generous donor that he’s going to pay all their college expenses and launch them into a different future?
  • A little boy who runs out to watch the garbage truck drive by every week, and each time receives a “hello” honk from the driver? That expression of joy on his face every single time.
  • A helpless family suffering a sudden tragedy and strangers from their community swoop in to rescue?
  • A pet who finds his way home, years later?

Recently I saw a 2019 video of the Kentucky All State Choir singing the National Anthem in the atrium of their hotel (click the link). It makes me cry every time.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” ― Oscar Wilde

I’m sitting here looking past my lap at one of my books, “Poems That Make Grown Men Cry.” Well, have you read any poetry lately? Might that not be a dose of good medicine for you? How about digging out that old college literature book off the shelf and go back and look at something vaguely familiar.

Years ago I had marked out this poem,

REMEMBER – Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
         Gone far away into the silent land;
         When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
         You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
         Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
         And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
         For if the darkness and corruption leave
         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
         Than that you should remember and be sad.
My prescription isn’t to feel bad, but to just plain feel more often. Maybe to not feel the need to keep emotions all boxed up. What are you passionate about in life? What really bothers you – and makes you want to do something? What unresolved emotions or issues are you juggling and need to think (and pray) about? What kinds of words do you need to say to others more frequently?
Who are you? Maybe the real you is trying to get out?
Having an emotional reaction to the National Anthem isn’t anything to worry about. Reading a poem or hearing a song that takes you back to a magic moment in time is a blessing. Memory is a lifeline for us, it keeps us connected to others, it’s essential for healthy grounding. Sometimes it brings tears to our eyes – and we all probably need more of that.
“Your tears come easy, when you’re young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you’re old, and leaving it. I burst out crying.” ― Wilkie Collins

2 thoughts on “What’s Making You Cry These Days?

  1. Wonderful. I reckon that making room for emotion is productive. Filing feelings away can lead to problems, like yelling at the dog! Stay blessed.


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