A few weeks ago a friend made the comment that crying was not really encouraged in our society, even for women. At first that didn't seem true....I mean women cry all the time. As I thought about it, though, it hit me that she was right. Women do cry....we can't usually help it. However, the act of crying isn't necessarily celebrated or encouraged on the whole for women, and especially not for men.
With new age junk books like "The Secret" or name-it-and-claim-it, positive-thinking-only jargon bombarding us, it is no surprise that tears have lost their place in our emotional repertoire. It's like our culture is shouting, "Express your feelings---but only if they are positive!"
This weekend I have been a mess. I got some time with good friends and talk about my dad in a way that I've not for a while. It opened up a lot of feelings I have simply not allowed myself to feel. I could feel that was close to sobbing at moments, and even today I have cried myself into a headache.
I have always hated to cry in front of people (especially men). There is a vulnerability there that has been deemed "bad" somewhere along the way. I hate not being able to control myself or my emotions. On top of that, you have to cope with other peoples’ judgements, such as, “Isn’t she over that yet? It’s been two months already”; “Why can't she just get back on with life; there is work to do”; or “Feeling bad and crying is such a waste of time”.
I think that this philosophy of no tears, no negative feelings, is one ditch. The other ditch being setting in the house crying for two weeks over a broken teacup while telling the sad story to everyone I knew. There has to be a middle ground.
I think that God wants us to pour out our emotions to Him: "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8). And He also directs us to share our emotions with others: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15).
It's raining today. Pouring, really. And all of the low-lying places of Norman are flooding. However, it reminds me of a song's chorus: "Down in the valley, dying of thirst/Down in the valley, it seems that I'm at my worst/My consolation is that you baptize this earth/When I'm down in the valley, valleys fill first"
O God, I know that You want me to release my emotions to You and to others. Give me the opportunity and the courage to do that.