“I end up crying over beautiful things. Because they’re beautiful, despite the grief of the world. And my experience with grief in my life has made me long for beauty, in ways that I’m not even aware of.” ― Stephen Colbert

. . .

See the Beauty: Tears

. . .

It took me over a year to cry after my grandmother’s passing.

A woman I deeply loved. Not a stranger, not estranged. I cared deeply for her and thought of her often while I was away at college — always being sure to spend time with her whenever I returned home. And a woman who I visited one day after marrying my wife, Lindsay, to recap our wedding, which her health had precluded her from attending. A few months later, she passed away.

And then 365+ days after that, I woke up one morning and started to cry.

I don’t recall if I’d had a dream about my grandmother the night before or if my mind just took me to thoughts of her as soon as I awoke. But the tears came, and I couldn’t stop them — even as hard as I tried to quiet myself, so as not to wake up Lindsay beside me.

But she did wake up, and she immediately hugged me. Didn’t ask me what it was all about, didn’t try to hush me, and didn’t wipe them away. Just held me — and likely cried along with me. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I could find the words to tell her why. . .that, simply put, I really missed my grandma and felt so sad she was no longer here.

I remember it being an awkward experience for me. It had likely been years since I’d previously cried, and here I was sobbing in front of a woman I was still getting to know. But now in retrospect, I realize that that’s not what made it so awkward to me. It was that Lindsay greeted me like it was the most natural experience in the world.  That crying — even as an adult, even over something from the past, even out of the blue — was normal.

Over time, I’ve come to believe that too.

But that experience happened over two decades ago, and it’s taken every bit of the past 20+ years to realize the true treasure of tears. And it’s been a long journey to tear down my barriers to tears.

. . .

Candidly, I feel tears hovering at the surface a lot these days. Sometimes they come. Other times, they can’t seem to find the way out. But I know they will.

Because I’m learning no longer to suppress them, but to see my tears as a gift — a very natural way for my body to expel something I’ve been carrying and a very visible invitation to feel something, share something, and experience something within me and with others. They’re a deep, intimate connection to the experience of pain, sadness, and grief that all of humanity has experienced since the beginning of time.

And so, why not open myself to something so beautiful?


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