“Shhhh! DON’T CRY!”
“Don’t be a baby!”
Those are probably words most of us grew up hearing. Many of us were probably raised with the notion that it wasn’t okay to cry. Perhaps we were even told to “be strong” or not show our emotions. In some cultures, showing emotions is a sign of weakness.
Today, I was on my usual morning walk, but instead of walking south on the highway, for some reason, I turned left and walked north. I ended up at my mother-in-law’s door, thinking that maybe she had something I could help her with like putting things away for her or getting something from her cupboard for her. Really, I had no purpose for the visit. I just somehow ended up at her door.
Then it hit me.
I told her that yesterday when I ran errands, I got into my car and drove. All of a sudden, I was overcome with emotion and could not stop crying. I thought of friends and loved ones we have lost in the past year to either cancer, heart attack or old age. I was upset over the injustice of loved ones having failing health or being diagnosed with fatal diseases. I was emotional and upset about the likelihood that Little One will never have a sibling. I am turning forty a week before Christmas and have discovered some not-so-great news about my own health. If something happens to me, I don’t want Little One to be alone.
I apologized for the tears and then she stopped me.
“My dear, it’s OKAY to cry! Tears wash away the sadness.”
Those were the words I needed to hear at that moment.
We then talked about how there are no certainties in life and how we need to live life to the fullest. We need to focus on spending time with those important to us NOW while they are alive and how we need to cut back on things that add unnecessary stress in our lives. We talked about how we cannot worry about things we have control over, but how we can do the best we can for the things that are in our control.
My friend, Sarah‘s words from our conversation the other day really stuck with me:
A good cry cleanses the soul. Somehow take care of yourself because the stresses of the illness in your family are catching up to your own health. It’s all in God’s hands, so pray for healing and peace and may God be your portion. He’ll weather you through the storm even when it seems impossible.
I thought of my young daughter and how each time she cries, I tell her to stop crying. At six years of age, she’s sensitive and emotional. Why do we scold people for crying? Crying is natural. It’s the shedding of tears in response to an emotional state. There is nothing bad or wrong about crying.
From now on, if Little One’s sad, I’m going to encourage her to let it out and cry. I will tell her that it’s okay to cry and that tears wash away the sadness. Maybe I’ll even remember to tell myself that.