October 12
  There is sacredness in tears.  They are
not the mark of weakness but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten
thousand tongues.  They are messengers
of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.

Henry Irving


Today's Meditation:

I've never really had a problem with crying, even though in our culture we don't have a whole lot of acceptance of people's tears--especially among men.  But I've always felt better after a good cry, so when I do feel the urge to cry I find a place where I can be by myself and I do so.  Tears to me are a cleansing force.  I don't know how they work, but if they can take away even a small bit of the pain or frustration or hopelessness that I feel, then they're welcome in my life.

When I see someone else who is moved to tears, I see someone who is able to feel deeply and accept those feelings.  I see a strength of expression--a person who is feeling so strongly that he or she isn't at all worried about what others might say about their tears.  If I'm watching a film that makes me cry because of someone else's pain, I realize that the fact that I'm moved to tears is a good sign because I'm able to feel what someone else is feeling, even if that person is a fictional character.  This compassion is one of the things that I most value in my life, for it lets me know that I am trying to live a life of connection to others, a life lived not just for myself alone in my own little world, but a life that is touched by the lives of others, and that tries to touch the life of others.

I want to be strong enough to express what I feel when I feel it, and if tears are that expression, then so be it.

Tears are a blessing.  Because we tend to save them for sadness, we do them a bit of a disservice.  Tears speak more about who we are and what we value than any of our words could, and even though they're not always appropriate, when they do come they're very powerful indeed.  If we can learn to love our tears and pay attention to the messages they bring us, we may just find our lives growing in ways that we hadn't imagined before simply because we're seeing and feeling things--and expressing--that we hadn't really allowed ourselves to feel before.

Questions to consider:

Why have tears been looked on so much as a sign of weakness?

Why do so many people use tears as a form of manipulation?  What about us responds to tears in a way that would allow people to do so?

How could tears possibly be seen as a mark of power?

For further thought:

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.

Charles Dickens
Great Expectations


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