Yesterday I experienced something of a rarity in my life. Watching a grown man cry. Genuine tears. Tears of brokenness. Tears of sadness. Tears of grief. You see, my longtime neighbor died this week of heart issues, and this was her 40-something son talking to me from his mom’s back deck.
“The other day after work when we normally… uh…talk…talk on the phone,” he sputtered before the tears broke lose. “I’m…I’m going to really…miss those calls.” Sigh. Whenever a guy cries, whether he’s a teen or a centurion, I lose it too. There’s just something about men and authentic tears that I find endearing.
Real Tears Really Do Matter
I grew up in more of a tear-duct-challenged family, so when I come across a man in tears, I take note. The elderly widower who recently talked about missing the love of his life. The animal-loving man who has to turn the channel when he hears about an injured animal. I’m with these guys. Some things in life warrant our tears, and not just sad things. Plenty of guys do that quick eye swipe when they see their child performing on stage or scoring that game-winning point. Or when they walk their daughter down the aisle or stand to cheer at their son’s college graduation. And these are the men who need a tissue when they hold their newborn grandchildren. I applaud you. Please don’t stop.
Tears Benefit the Heart and Soul
Lest we forget or have never heard this before, the Creator of our emotions and our body’s ability to cry, cries Himself. Yep. God experiences sorrow and joy, and when Jesus took on the form of man, He shed tears in public on the behalf of others and these emotional moments are recorded in the Bible. Luke 19:41 notes Jesus’ sorrow over seeing the city of Jerusalem and in John 11:35 when Jesus comes to the grave of His buddy, Lazarus, we find the shortest verse in all of Scripture: “Jesus wept.” Two succinct yet powerful words. Enough said.
While God does show compassionate emotions, He does not need to weep like us because He always sees the good coming out of the not-so-good. He is never trapped in feelings and unable to see past them, like we sometimes experience. He sees our breaking points as bending points and is there to help us stand strong again. God empathizes and understands our full range of emotions.
So guys, if Jesus let those tears rip, you can too. If you lose your job, let those tears come as they want. If your child wins the game, cry those happy tears. To me, it’s manlier to cry at appropriate moments than to stuff and pretend you are macho. If you need a little help with the tears naturally flowing, peel an onion or hold the finger of that cutest-ever newborn.
Or, pick up the phone and call your mama just to hear her voice. If she’s already passed, take a moment and lovingly remember her. Just like my neighbor’s son on the back deck. If a tear trickles, you’re being human. You’re in good company.
Excellent, Beth. And I’m sorry you lost your neighbor.
Thank you, Nancy. Yes, we’ve been neighbors about 20 years. She will be greatly missed on our block.
Well said, Beth! And thanks for the reminder to call my mama!
I appreciate your encouraging words, Lisa. You’re mama is a dear one. Please tell her “hello” from me.
I read this to my wife this morning as we sat out on our porch enjoying coffee and the morning sunrise. Thank you for reminding me that my Savior (my hero) cried too. It gave me freedom to show my vulnerability in this way. As I read out loud the sentence about brokenness my voice started to crack as I was reminded about my own brokenness. She looked at me as if to say, “It’s okay. Let it flow.” I paused, took a deep breath fighting back the tears. And then immediately blamed it on the sun that was shining directly in my eyes and the smoke from the Colorado wild fires.
Marcus, thank you for sharing this. Your vulnerability just in this note brought tears to me. I know the bright sun and wildfire smoke do mess with our tear ducts, but I’m glad you know there’s more to those inner emotions that want to surface now and then. You have a safe place in your incredible wife to “let it flow.” Maybe try for coffee after dinner tonight when the sun and smoke are gone and before the Broncos game (if we don’t win, that may bring on the tears.)