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.”
Sometimes 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 that 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 almost 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 time 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.”
So, 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.