Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crying is healthy, so cry me a river

The following article was sent to me recently by one of my students in Boston – she knows I am always trying to find inspirational articles about how we can help ourselves move forward on this journey from mouurning the deaths of our children… and she was right, I found this article (which is actually a blog posting from a fellow blogger) very appropriate… I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did and if you have a chance, check our Karen’s blog.. Cherie Houston

CRY ME A RIVER, By Karen Payne

The big basketball game was held on Monday. I know nothing about college basketball. I’m at peace with that statement. I have no desire to know. I did hear on the radio that after the game the losing team cried. College athletes cried. The reporter seemed to imply that it was OK because they were just boys swept away by the intensity of the game. HMMMMM.
Our new speaker of the house cries….. often. He seems to be quite the emotional guy. So much so that the press has commented on it and ridiculed it and mocked it. HMMMMMMM.

I could go on with many more examples of how our culture finds crying to be quite inappropriate. To shed a tear in the public square is frowned upon. When it happens the comments are either that the person is weak and unstable OR way too emotional for what is considered “normal behavior”. HMMMMMM

So what’s a person to do who is grieving? Tears are a healthy, necessary response to many situations in life. Babies cry and if they didn’t they would starve. People cry when they are in pain (physical or emotional) and this crying is as natural and necessary as breathing. May I be so bold as to suggest that tears were created by God and are needful to maintain our emotional wellbeing? Tears relieve tension; they give an outlet for strong emotions; they are healing and cleansing. Tears can be like the valve on the top of a pressure cooker.

Do you remember the pressure cooker days? My grandma used to cook with a pressure cooker often. One evening my dad walked into the kitchen to see grandma using a fork to relieve some of the steam by jiggling the valve at the top of the pressure cooker. My dad though she was having difficulty with the lid and ran to her rescue. “Here, let me help you.”, He said as he grabbed the handle and gave it a good tug. “NO!” grandma screamed as she ducked pulling her apron over her head. The pot erupted with carrots and potatoes stuck to the ceiling as water and beef roast rained down on the twosome. Dad was trying to be helpful.

Tears are like that. They need to be released whenever the emotions build within. If you don’t let them out they will build a pressure within that could erupt if jiggled or jerked the wrong way. My recommendation to anyone dealing with the deeply-felt emotions of grief - CRY.

I know it’s not socially acceptable in many circles. I know others may think you’re weak or unstable. I realize that because of other’s reactions we often feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about the “leak” of emotion. CRY anyways. JUST CRY.

Crying will be temporarily uncomfortable – but long-term healthy and helpful. Crying is preferrable to eruptions; preferrable to medication to numb the emotions; preferrable to the build up of anxiety, frustration, anger, depression, and general sense of being overwhelmed all the time. Cry. Losing a loved one is worth a tear or two or two-hundred. Cry.

And just so you know…. you are NOT weak or unstable. People who don’t know how to cry are both of those and much more. You don’t want to be those people. Maybe your tears will help them deal with their own hurts with a good cry instead of an eruption.
Today…. if you feel like you need to…. just cry.

Still tearful after all these years, Karen

Karen Payne is the worship pastor at Williams Lake Church of the Nazarene in Waterford Michigan. She writes about grief from her table-for-one at the M-59 BigBoy with coffee and pink mini-laptop in hand. Encouragement for those who grieve. Vist Karen’s blog:

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