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.
First -- Is that you in that pic? Did you shave your beard?! Wow!!
Second -- Thank you for posting this week, sharing your heart (or, some of it) with this little community of readers. I have been lurking around your blog for months and months, and I feel like I've learned, in some ways, more about you as a person in the last three days than in all of the rest of the time put together. I've learned a lot, in the past, about what you *think*, but that is not the same as how a person *feels*. I appreciate your vulnerability and transparency. This inherently gives permission for me (and others) to do the same.
Last -- at the risk of sounding self-promoting, but because I think it's in line with what you're writing about here, I will point you to a blog post I wrote entitled "Kleenex Theology and Good Grief" over at my blog (Ahnalog.blogspot.com). You should be able to just click on my name at the top here to link through. Oh, the date for that is 26 November 2007, so you'll have to dig a tiny bit.
Funny enough, just a few days ago I referred again to crying. It's in "How To Apply Mascara" (11 January 2008). There's a good video with make-up tips Phaedra may want to note for her wedding day: "How to Repair Your Face When You've Been Crying." :)
Blessings, friend. Blessings. And may you cry well, to good and life-giving ends.
Thank you both for your kind words. And thank you, Brie, too. And Tamara. And everrrrrrybody.
Oh, and I now realize you are posting pics of you and Phaedra through the last couple of years. ;)