A little over a week ago, I was ordained as a minister into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The service was lovely and I was blessed by everyone who physically and spiritually attended. Once the service was over, a person came up to me and shared that she was sorry that she was crying.
This moment has stayed with me since then because I keep thinking, “Why must we be sorry for our tears?”
I understood though why she apologized for her tears. Many times, tears are seen as a burden on other people.
Both men and women are taught that tears are only appropriate during exceptional moments (such as when a person has died or at a funeral). Outside of these moments, tears seem to only place a burden on others.
For example, if I cry, then someone must come and take care of me. Or my tears might mean I am just seeking attention. These are assumptions and they only serve to shut up someone’s tears. The reality is that our tears are the bodies response to the pain and sorrow that needs to be released and heard.
When a person feels they cannot share their tears, it can be hurtful and even dangerous. It can transfer into solitude, self-harm, anger, and even abuse.
I tend to hide my tears from the majority of people in my life. As a man, I was taught that crying was not a “manly” activity to do. Or another example is that my tears represent weakness and as a man, I must be strong and supportive toward others and anything I process must be done in private.
These implicit teachings have now made it difficult for myself to cry in front of others. I feel I must apologize for my tears if I do manage to cry in front of others. Like somehow, my tears are hurting another human being and I must apologize for crying.
No matter what reason we may have concerning the nature of hiding our tears, I want to remind you all that tears are okay.
The understanding that tears can harm another person is completely false. Tears are not harmful agents. Tears are healing agents. They are the beginning step for releasing of our emotions. They are the reminders that our emotions cannot be bottled up if we expect to heal from our sorrow and pain.
There are many people who look at human emotions as messy, chaotic features of the human experience. And I agree. Emotions are messy, and they can be chaotic in people’s lives. But that doesn’t make emotions any less sacred, if not more sacred for their chaotic natures.
The Divine of my understanding is a being of creation. In our creation, people are made with human emotions. Thus, human emotions are not just okay, but are sacred.
The same is true with our tears. Our tears are sacred because they come from the authentic parts of our soul and were given from the Divine that seeks for us to be comforted and healed through out pain and sorrow.
To hide our tears is to hide who we are. And no one deserves to hide the wonderful, beautiful person that you were created to be.
If you have been taught that you shouldn’t cry in front of others or that tears are harmful toward other people, I am so sorry you experienced those teachings. Because I believe that is not what the Divine of Love and comfort had in mind when the Divine created you and me.
Tears are okay. It is good to cry in front of people and not hide them. I look at the power of public laments and witness the crowds crying together and I see not one person apologizing for their tears. When we come together to share the emotions on our hearts, we embrace our humanity and that is sacred.
So as I finish this blog post, I personally take on the challenge to not apologize for my tears to anyone I cry with or in front of. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry for my tears”, I now want to say, “Thank you for witnessing my tears and allowing me to be me in front of you”.
My tears are sacred. Your tears are sacred. Our tears are sacred.
May we remember this truth and may we walk in love with our Ruahs.