Wednesday, August 15, 2007

maybe tears are enough

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I'm a crier. I cry fairly easily. Those who know my family know that this is a seemingly genetic trait I share with my mother, grandfather, aunts and cousins. When I was a teenager it was rather embarrassing and socially awkward to burst into tears at random moments. As I've gotten older, I think that I don't cry quite as much as I once did, but when I really think about it, I probably do cry just as much, but I have just gotten a lot more comfortable with it. One could say I have a healthier relationship with tears now than I once did

So when I saw an article entitled "Tears and Compassionate Connection" in an e-zine I receive regularly, I immediately clicked on it. It is a beautiful article that begins with a story of a young Palestinian woman who was arrested by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. Unlike the stories I hear from my women friends about using tears to get themselves out of situations, this story was very different. The young woman describes how seeing two of the soldiers at the checkpoint: a man and a woman, both crying, opened a space for her to forgive.

I have had incredibly powerful experiences of tears - one day I began crying for seemingly no reason, only to find out later that a woman near me was crying, and that I must have sensed her distress, even though I could not see her. I remember one time apologizing to a male friend for crying while we talked, only to have him say that he wished he could cry too, but couldn't. I jokingly tell friends that I should be a professional mourner (apparently in some cultures they actually have such things) since I cry so easily. In some ways I think I already do this, I mourn for the dead parts of our world and for my friends.

Tears, for me, as I've grown into them, are most often openings, just as the article suggests. Like a big smile, tears silently speak volumes and gift those around with a truth that is otherwise unspeakable. And so, I wonder, if sometimes tears are enough: words can't make another's pain go away, but tears can validate that pain, and shed a light of honesty that unites us even when all we can see is difference.



  • Thanks, Shannon. My wife will have to read your post, and the article. She loves (?) to cry, or at least feels a great connection in the act.

    By Blogger Christian, at 3:26 PM  

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