After the tears…

December 8, 2016

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this quote – “I like walking in the rain, because nobody can see my tears.”  (Charlie Chaplin) Most people did not know about the great anguish that Charlie Chapman had during his life. Chaplin’s life was far removed from the funny little tramp that he played on the screen.

Jack also wrote – Billy Graham has said that he often prays to God with tears in his eyes. God understands crying, as did Leonardo da Vinci  who said – “Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.” 

crying-1Sometimes having a good cry is the best immediate response to something that has happened in our lives, both sad and happy things. Letting go for that moment and allowing yourself to weep provides a needed release from the unnatural control that we are all taught as we grow up. That same need for self-control also dulls the joy that we might otherwise feel from good things in our life. As Golda Meir once said – “Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.”

Still, eventually life must go on, and as C.S. Lewis said, “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” After the tears of pain or sorrow or even joy, one must put the cause of thatremorseful torment of tears into perspective within their life. Tears caused by pain, loss or sorrow most often involved another person and our memories of them. Perhaps the pain was caused by a snub or by bullying or by someone making a harsh or unfeeling remark to your or about you. In any case, life goes on and you must, too. “There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way.”  –  Libba Bray

So, what comes after the tears? I love this quote from Steve Maraboli – “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” There is forgivealmost always something or someone to forgive, even if you realize that it is yourself. I have witnessed people crying in anger at a deceased life partner because they felt like they left them here alone. They later have to forgive themselves for that selfish display. Perhaps the term forgive should include the thought of healing, too.

Certainly there is always something to learn from any event that causes us to come to tears – both good and bad – and we will be forever changed by that addition to our knowledge base. The memories of a lost loved one always influence our own future decisions.

The final step to take is to move on. Life goes on and so must you. It may be harder now, at least for now; but you have shed the tears that have watered your future and now it is timecivil-war-tear-catcher to make the best of that future.

Going back to Biblical times, in some cultures (ours included in the 19th century during the Victorian Era) tear catchers called LACHRYMOSA or LACHRYMATORY were devices for capturing tears of sadness and loss and saving them. Often the tears that were captured would be used in small vases into which a single flower might be placed at grave sites of the lost loved one. It was a ritualistic way to end the tears and bring a sense of closure to the cause of those tears by using them to honor the lost loved one at their grave site. Life could then move on.

Have faith that God sees your anguish and hears your cries. Psalm 56 says,

“You keep track of all my sorrows.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle.

You have recorded each one in your book.”

rainbowSo, go ahead and have that good cry;  whether it be in sadness or in joy, forgive and then realize in the words of John Vance Cheney that – “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” Find the rainbow after the tears and move on. God will keep track of those tears for you and makes the rainbow to show you the way forward.

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.

Crying time will pass…

August 23, 2014

I was ask the rhetorical question “Will I ever stop crying?” recently by a client going through a divorce. It may asremorseful
well have been someone who had just experienced the loss of a life-mate. The obvious answer was yes, but at that moment more was needed. A hug was needed. Sometimes a good cry is a wonderful thing. It lets out the tension. It drains away some of the emotion and frustration of the moment. It is cathartic.

Unfortunately, many seem to use crying as an entrance into the realm of being a victim or worse as the slide into depression. Those are doors best left closed. You are not a victim unless you let yourself become one. Read or re-read my post on “Be a victor, not the victim” and/or “Make happy memories today.” But, eventually one must end the crying and get on with life.

Sometimes things change so fast in our lives that it can make our heads swim and become overwhelming. The person who used to do so many of the shared tasks of living is no longer there and all of a sudden it is your responsibility to think of everything, to do everything to be responsible for everything. For people whose long-term life mate is suddenly no longer there, even simple things like paying the bills or the taxes or cleaning the gutters or preparing meals or hundreds of other day-to-day tasks can suddenly start piling up.  In times like that it caringis often the help of a friend or relative that gets you through. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Many times you will find that there were people just waiting and wanting to help, but they didn’t want to offend you by “butting in.”

So, go ahead and have a good cry; but, when crying time has passed, put away the Kleenex, put on your big girl/boy pants and get on with life. I’ve posted several posts about that – facing reality and finding a way to survive and then thrive. The point of all of them is that life goes on, no matter what we may think or feel for a short while; and we must find a way to go on, too. Keep in mind, too, that there are people in your life who are standing ready to help. Ask them to help, accept their help and then thank them for their help. You’ll feel better and they will, too. Crying time will pass. Life will go on and so will you.