Yesterday I sat with a student in a coffee shop and we both cried. There is a lot of sadness in her life. God has gifted her with the ability to feel the pain others experience. As we talked the coffee shop disappeared – the row of coffee pots and people buzzing around with stir sticks politely quieted and left, the curious busy bee workers swirled right past me – and for a few minutes we were alone with our tears and the feelings of our friends and loved ones who are suffering.
I’ve always despised how easily I cry. I struggle not to equate it with emotional weakness or lack of intellect. I’ve tried various techniques to give myself some measure of control – like pinching myself or reciting the anatomical structure of the eyeball.
Sometimes tears are simple gift I can give a friend I am listening to and they seem sweet and appropriate. But sometimes tears are a maddening phenomenon that rob me of my ability to respond the way I want to.
Just once I’d like to be angry and not have to have an argument that includes blubbering, heaving, speech. I’d love to watch a movie without the kids joking, “Hey. I betcha Mom’ crying right now. Ha Ha! YUP!!!” I’d love to pray during communion and not have to wipe my nose with my scarf.
It was a little gift to me to meet with this girl and see how lovely tears can be and how wonderful it is to feel – even painful things. For some reason God has made some of us to do that. I don’t know how it’s helpful or useful, but I can see that it’s part of the way I am.
And so I go out into the world, Kleenex stuffed in my pockets and a 50% chance of making it through the day with one application of mascara.