The tracks of our tears…

March 2, 2016

“Sometimes memories sneak out from my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”  (Andrew Guzaldo) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Professional actors sometimes use the recall of sad or painful memories in order to summon up tears for scenes in their movies. For the rest of us it is often unintended or at least something that we are trying not to do when our eyes weal up and tears start running down our face. I usually can’t get through a funeral without that happening, but many crying-2other things get to me enough to cause that reaction. I absolutely don’t think there’s a man out there that didn’t have tears in this eyes while watching the moving ending to the movie Brian’s Song or perhaps at the ending to the movie Love Story. Those things didn’t even happen to us, yet we are so capable of empathy that they cause us to react as if we were an actual part of the story.

Letting our emotions come to the surface and spill down our cheeks every so often is good for us. It releases the tension that we caused in the first place by trying to “keep a stiff upper lip” and it serve to remind us of our own humanity. If it comes at the price of a little bit of humility, that’s probably not a bad thing either. There’s probably not worse advice that we get growing up than the whole “be a man” thing – man up, shake it off, stiff upper Crying-3lip, be strong – or for girls to “put on your big girl panties” – big girls don’t cry. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to act mature about things that happen in life, where that maturity is focused upon taking everything in, thinking things out and making good decisions; however, there is nothing in that string that precludes taking a moment or two to let your emotions find an outlet through a few tears or even a good cry. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles had a 1965 hit “Tracks of My Tears” that talked about trying to hide your emotions behind a fake smile.

I don’t espouse walking around crying at everything or in reaction to every bad thing that may happen in life. I think we must become mature and emotionally stable enough to deal with most disappointments that come our way, unlike the very young who may cry or throw a tantrum when disappointed. We must also learn to deal with rejections in life in a better way than to immediately start crying. Life’s failures may be better met with resolve to keep trying than with tears of frustration or defeat.

There are still many things that can happen in life, or memories that can be recalled out ofcrying-1 some new incident, which may warrant a few tears. We can have tears of sadness and also tears of joy. So, it’s not just memories that sneak out of your eyes and roll down your face, it’s your emotions finally getting out showing the world that you are human and that care about something. And that’s a good thing. Often we might cry when recalling a failed relationship, either one that we let slip away or one that just wasn’t meant to be. This Jennifer Nettles song talks about that being a “Good Time to Cry.”

Sometimes life itself can be so tough, so unrelenting in its oppression or repetitive in its waves of bad news that you feel like crying all the time. There are many places around the world right now that might provide such an environment, perhaps a few right here in America. Rapper August Alsina has a powerful and explicit trailer for his release called Song Cry that wraps up a lot of these thoughts and gives a glimpse of a life that might make one want to cry on a daily basis. To listen to the full Song Cry, click here, but be forewarned that it is raw and explicit in parts.

crying-4So, no matter what reason you have to cry, let it out. Have a good cry, then gather yourself and move on with life. Maybe you needed that cry to put that memory is proper perspective or at least to put it back on the shelf in your mind where you keep the memories of the people and things that you don’t want to forget. Maybe having a few good cries about someone or something will help you turn those tears from ones of sadness or remorse or regret into tears of happiness at having had the opportunity to know them or the good fortune to have survived the event.

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Dealing with life’s pains…

September 27, 2014

“Knowing that there is worse pain doesn’t make the present pain hurt less.”  (Real Live Preacher), as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

We all experience pain from time to time, whether it is real, physical pain or emotional pain. Sometimes people will say things like “shake it off” or maybe “it could be worse.” Those sage pieces of advice seldom help in the moment. In fact, recent studies have shown the harmful effects of decades of sports coaches telling a player with a concussion to shake it off and get back in the game. There are tons of stories from ex-athletes about how they wish now that they had taken better care of their bodies, instead of “playing through the pain.”

On the emotional level, people who have just experienced the loss of a loved one or child cannot be consoled by adviceremorseful from others. Theirs is a deep person pain that only they can feel and understand. What is really needed in those moments is a hug and a shoulder to cry upon. The release of letting it out through a good cry is much better than trying to maintain “a stiff upper lip.” The emotional pain that we experience in such times is our minds trying to get itself around the overwhelming senses of fear and confusion and loss and concern for the future all at once. It is too much to process and organize and compartmentalize, so we break down in tears and that somehow helps. The tears provide a way for it to all wash over us at once and get out.  After a good cry, you head can clear and rational thought return.

Once the initial pain subsidies we often settle into a period of dull, persistent pain, whether the injury be physical or mental. That can come in the form of a throbbing, back of the head pain or as sharp little jibs of pain as we are reminded of the loss or the initial injury. We begin to learn how to deal with the persistent pain and perhaps start the rehabilitation process to try to get back to a new “normal.”

Soman on cruthesme injuries in sport are career ending and many losses in life are life-changing. Things can never get back to the way they were, so you need to focus upon living with things the way they are. That is hard on ex-athletes and on people who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Many ex-athletes suffer though bouts of depression because they can no longer perform at the level that they were used to; but, more importantly, they are no longer a member of the team that defined them as people and served as a “family” of sorts.

People who lose their life partners suffer the greatest sense of loss of all. It is hard to lose a child, especially for a mother; but to lose your life partner is much worse. A successful long-term relationship with a life partner results in the melding of the two souls to such as extent that the loss of one will leave the other feeling only half there. The pain of having half of who you had become in life torn away is beyond that of all other human pain. Yet, we survive. We may cry longer and with deeper emotions that at any other time in our lives; but we live on.

When you are a child and got hurt, your mom might kiss your boo-boo and make it all better. You probably never toldcaring her that kissing the boo-boo really didn’t make the pain go away; but that being held and loved made bearing the pain a little easier. As adults we seldom still have mom around to kiss our boo-boos; but, if you are lucky you have friends or relatives who are there to give you that hug of assurance and tell you that things will be alright. In that moment, let yourself go; become that child again that finds comfort and relief from the pain in someone’s arms. Have a good cry; then, thank them for being there. They may not even understand what they just did for you; but, they’ll be glad that they were there to help.

An what if they aren’t there when you need them? Remember that you are never alone. You have only to acknowledge that God is there to comfort you to begin feeling the warmth of His embrace. There’s no boo-boo too big for God to handle, if you go to Him for a hug.