I cry an awful lot now, compared to my crying habits of yore. These days I can't seem to go more than a day or two between the letting of tears, for one reason or another. And let me tell you why it thrills me.
I rarely cried between the ages of eleven and eighteen. Which is kind of crazy considering in the life of a female, these years are famed for daytime-television-caliber drama, off-the-charts hormones, and the great daughter/parent clash. I believe we can all recognize that fourteen-year-old-girls are some of the most fearsome creatures on the planet.
To be fair, I had NO shortage of drama, hormones, or "clash" - just a peculiar lack of sobbing that usually accompanies them all. According to my best estimation, EIGHT people had seen me cry before the age of 18. (And this figure includes my parents and brother.)
Today, I'm pretty sure the figure is closer to 88, which comes out to be 16,777,216. Yeah, that sounds about right.
Some things that made me cry this week were:
- My friend Allie's video of her 6 month-old daughter, Lillian
- A song my friend, DeAnn, sang in church
- Pastor Al's message
- The end of the movie Juno
- Rocking Madeline to sleep
- Dan paying me a compliment
- Missing my mom
- My book, Revolution in World Missions
- An old episode of Glee
After much introspection, I believe the reason for the tears to be:
I am okay with who I am as a person.
I think previously, I had attached some sort of stigma to tears, especially public ones. I imagined that my crying would lead everyone to assume I was an emotional disaster. I feared this because I was an emotional disaster.
But I'm not afraid of tears anymore, because I'm not afraid of my self anymore.
Granted, I still try to avoid hyper-emotionalism, and I still think it's unwise to "wear my heart on my sleeve," so I don't. But if some of my heart leaks out (say, of my tear ducts); if, for a moment, everyone in a room catches a glimpse of something real and deep-down, I'm not ashamed of it. I'm not embarrassed for anyone to know that I am moved by a particular thing.
Because the things that move me go a long way in making me who I am. And I'm okay with who I am now. I like me.
I believe the tears mean that there is a softness present in me that was absent before. Now there is this kind of femininity that isn't ashamed to be soft - because it is mature enough to recognize that "softness" and "weakness" are not the same thing - not even close.
And what's more, my tears make me feel alive (and kind of tingly). When I find them blurring my eyes, I know that I'm not damming up valid emotions that would allow me to experience a moment fully.
I am glad to be tender, and so grateful that Christ has replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh.