The Gift of Tears

I had a conversation yesterday that kind of impacted me so I wanted to tell you about it. I was driving to our friend’s funeral along with another friend B whom I’ve only started getting to know better recently. B also used to be a teacher and she has a very similar personality to me (at least we both have the same MBTI and Enneagram types).

We started off talking about funerals and how we feel about them. Neither of us are scared of sad emotions and we both cry quite a lot and have a lot of empathy for others. Sometimes that means that we get emotional at funerals even if we don’t know the deceased that well because we empathise with family members who are upset.

I mentioned that I sometimes feel like I cry too much and she told me a story. She said that her mum had once said to her mum (B’s gran) that she cried too much. B’s gran told her that she didn’t cry too much; she had the ‘gift of tears’. I think that’s a kind of beautiful way to look at it. Not everyone finds it easy to express their emotions I suppose.

There are some people I know who seem to struggle with emotions. It seems as if they don’t know how to process the more difficult ones or what to do with them. They also find it difficult to watch others who are emotional and it can seem like they think expressing emotion is a weakness. I don’t know if that’s what they really think but it can come across like that. Sometimes the only emotion that you really see them express is anger.

As a child and a teenager I rarely cried; but after I got married and had kids I seemed to become a lot more tuned in with the sad emotions or maybe I was just more empathetic? These days I cry at all sorts of stuff – movies (happy or sad), adverts, the news and books. Sometimes my family laugh at me when I cry at movies. I cry a lot with song lyrics or when people share their stories, like when people share testimonies in church that often gets me.

The funeral service yesterday was very emotional. All four of our friend’s sons and his wife and his brother and other friends and family shared about the impact he had had on their lives. They spoke about the kind of man he was and what he had taught them. It made me wish that I had had more time to get to know him. One of his sons had even written a beautiful song for his dad. It certainly got my ‘gift of tears’ flowing.

When I first went to the docs earlier this year about depression I was crying so much that it was interfering with my life – I don’t think that was healthy – but sometimes a good cry does make you feel better. It releases oxytocin after all so it’s bound to help. I think I’m doing a lot better now and I’m crying a lot less but I’m not afraid to cry. Sometimes I think the right thing to do is to let those emotions out.

How do you feel about crying? Does it bother you when other people get emotional? Do you have the gift of tears?

This Little Light of Mine

This old Sunday School song has been going round in my head this week. Probably because of something that was mentioned at my local prayer group on Tuesday night. I don’t know what you picture when you hear this song but for me it’s always a candle – probably because of the old Bible story books I had as a kid. I wonder what kids these days would think of? Maybe a touch activated, colour changing LED lamp or something 😂? Anyway the sentiment that was shared at our group was that it matters how we walk through tough times. People are watching how we behave and we need to let our light shine.

At first when I was reflecting on this I felt like my little candle would have not only been snuffed out but it would have been totally submerged in the tears I’ve cried in the last day or so and I couldn’t see how I could make my light shine. Then a couple of things happened. When I was praying I felt like Papa was saying I need to give myself permission to shine. I guess I was waiting for my circumstances and my emotions to be sorted and my heart to be healed and feeling like I couldn’t or wasn’t allowed to shine until I felt okay. Then a friend was talking about changing their mindset (something I looked into a lot last summer) and that also made me realise that I need to change my thinking.

On Wednesday I came across this quote from Lisa Bevere’s book Adamant (which is definitely on my list of books to read).

There is a river hidden within your wilderness. The river is not around you, it is within you.

This got me thinking again that it’s not what’s going on around us that’s important in terms of our influence for God. If we have the Holy Spirit living inside us we can shine. The light we carry is not about us – it’s all about Him. I need to remember that. I guess I’ve often felt like I had to have it all together to be any use to God but I know at the same time that that’s not true.

Another good friend spoke to me today about being myself. I honestly don’t feel like I’ve properly been myself for a couple of months now. When I think about it though I feel like when I’m free and being myself my light will shine more naturally. So I guess I have some things to work on – being myself and letting my light shine. I’m pretty sure that’s not gonna be easy right now and I’ll probably mess it up several times but I’ll give it a try. I think I might need to change my mental image of my ‘little light’ though. Maybe an underwater torch would be more appropriate?