Number 5: Crying
I'm crying a lot these days, more than I usually cry.
Last time I cried in public was November 5, 2006. It happened at Hope Chapel. I was settling in to preach, adjusting the pulpit, when I looked out at the congregation and saw my friend Chris Mass. He was giving me the thumbs up, as if to say, "Hey, I'm with you," and I lost it. Suddenly I was weeping--not little tears but big, convulsive tears. It was the day after Phaedra and I had broken up. It took me about four minutes to get ahold of myself.
Before that it was somewhere around 1990 that I had cried in front of people. That would be about a sixteen year gap.
But now I'm crying again. I cried two weeks ago Thursday in a counseling session with Kyle. Then I cried, or sort of cried, the following Sunday during a prayer time with friends who had gathered to pray over me and Phaedra. Then I almost lost it at the restaurant with my dad yesterday as we talked about the ending of this season of my relationship with him and mom. And then as I later relayed that conversation to Phaedra I really cried. And I didn't try to stop it. I let myself cry and get that quivering sound in my voice that frankly makes me embarrassed.
I am turning warm-blooded again.
I cried a lot as a kid, growing up in Guatemala. Then I stopped. I no longer wanted to feel the devastating consequences of bawling in front of my new American friends. I was in 8th grade when that happened and I despised the way I was made to feel ashamed for crying. I took a vow and I faithfully kept it.
Now, very slowly, painfully, I am beginning to experience the fruit of renouncing that vow. I still feel afraid, embarrassed, awkward, unhinged, self-conscious and only God knows what else when I cry. But, honestly, I'd really like to give that part of me to Phaedra . . . the Weeping, Vulnerable David. With my body I thee worship.
A VALEDICTION OF WEEPING
by John Donne
LET me pour forth
LET me pour forth
My tears before thy face, whilst I stay here,
For thy face coins them, and thy stamp they bear,
And by this mintage they are something worth.
For thus they be
Pregnant of thee;
Fruits of much grief they are, emblems of more;
When a tear falls, that thou fall'st which it bore;
So thou and I are nothing then, when on a divers shore.
On a round ball
A workman, that hath copies by, can lay
An Europe, Afric, and an Asia,
And quickly make that, which was nothing, all.
So doth each tear,
Which thee doth wear,
A globe, yea world, by that impression grow,
Till thy tears mix'd with mine do overflow
This world, by waters sent from thee, my heaven dissolvèd so.
O ! more than moon,
Draw not up seas to drown me in thy sphere;
Weep me not dead, in thine arms, but forbear
To teach the sea, what it may do too soon;
Let not the wind
To do me more harm than it purposeth:
Since thou and I sigh one another's breath,
Whoe'er sighs most is cruellest, and hastes the other's death.