Have you spontaneously cried, and your tears defied logic? No I’m not talking about my crying at a sappy Hallmark Special or a Super Bowl commercial where my tears have been manipulated by the producers. I’m talking about a pure reaction perhaps to a work of art, to the news of the death of a family member, or a photo of a friend long forgotten.
Men especially are trained from early on not to cry. “Only girls cry,” was heard in my house more than once. Boys are taught not to cry when you are in pain, when we are sad, and certainly not when we are happy. If we can’t help it because of a reflex we are taught to wipe them away quickly. But there are some tears we can’t hold back, no matter how intense the training.
Laura Axelrod, a writer, playwright, and actor recently wrote a piece about emotional reactions to art in a publication I write for as well – www.clydefitchreport.com. She visited Vatican city and when she first saw Michelangelo’s Pieta she cried. She concluded her article with saying, “there are few places where people can transcend their identities and experience themselves differently. Some people look for it in church, others find it in art.”
I am sure she is correct that people try to transcend their identities in different places. Sadly, I also know friends who look for it in alcohol, drugs, or in another woman or man than their spouse or partner, not in art or church. I believe God doesn’t want you transcend your identity, I think he wants you to discover it. Tears, real tears not the manipulated kind, can be a roadmap in your search. When they happen, don’t wipe them away, but ask what do they tell me about who I am and who is it that God put on this earth.
Axelrod also says, “there is something more, a place beyond emotion. After feelings, there are reminders.” With this I agree. Tears, real tears, are reminders of who we really are.