It doesn’t take much to reduce me to a puddle of tears, but it wasn’t always like that. I can be the only person sobbing in a full cinema, able to cry at the slightest thing. My grownup kids and wife have seen me greet at significant stages in their life and when my love for them has felt overwhelming. Visiting the bereaved and getting alongside people in pain and delight also easily open the dam ducts, though I got a great tip from a fellow greeter that ‘raising your eyebrows’, and keeping them up, can help block the waterworks, so I can usually stem the flow if necessary.
Sometimes people will say, “Oh, don’t cry.” but I usually assure them that such tears are a positive sign of love and care. Indeed, I’m not ashamed of my tears, though I try not to draw attention to them in certain situations, letting them dry by themselves, even run right down to my feet if need be.
Commander Fireman K Hankinson put out a flood alert one Sunday when I was reduced to a sobbing wreck at the start of the morning service, day after our Amy’s wedding. A few grooms have burst out crying when I’ve conducted their wedding and I’ve seen grown men bubble at significant football games.
Why shouldn’t us males have a good greet from time to time? Alas, the ‘matcho man’ image frowns upon it, in fact, many women are embarrassed to publicly shed tears too. Is it something about our stoic, Scottish stiff upper lip mentality that cheats us from such therapeutic healing emotions, which flow more freely in other lands?
“Jesus Wept!” the shortest verse in the Bible, and one of the most powerful! At Lazarus’s grave, and overlooking Jerusalem Jesus wept at Israel’s lostness, two of many times Jesus would have cried. And in the ‘Passion of The Christ” movie a tear from God’s eye falls before the crucified Christ & explodes on the ground?
I don’t imagine God reserves tears only for sad moments. We’re made in God’s image, so surely our ability to show emotion through tears reflects something of God’s personal character. Jesus, God in the flesh, comes alongside us to share in our humanity, redeem it, & reconnect us with God. Jesus helps us to become true human beings. It wasn’t until I felt free to cry in the arms of my wife over tragedy in my earlier life that I started to get in touch with my own tear ducts, now, over 32 years later tears are never far from my eyes. What gave me freedom to cry unashamedly was unconditional love.
Call me a hopeless romantic, if you want, but I believe tears are for real men!