The Gift Of Tears

detail of installation, 1990, porcelain, 5″ x 3″

I wonder why I don’t cry more often

With these challenges on my plate.

A good ‘tear-washing’ feels so darn good

In the end.

I don’t seem to weep in pain

Or weakness.

Sometimes abject humility

Or frustration and anger can get me going.

But seldom fear.

I find this odd.

I had an occasion years ago

On a visit to my favorite

‘Gotta find God fast’ spot I know:


I go there for the experience of beauty and peace.

Those monks surely knew how to pick some killer real estate, I tell you..

Anyway, they have a small gift shop there

Attended by one of the monks.

He seemed primed to be a witness.

I said: (in a courageous and transparent moment during a conversation we were having on music):

“I cry at the oddest moments.

My tears often surprise me

With their suddenness and velocity,

Their inopportune arrival most times.

I can’t hold them back.

They embarrass me.”

He replied: “Have you ever heard of THE GIFT OF TEARS

In the Bible?

Yes, it is a real thing- the heart becomes so filled with beauty or joy or love or appreciation or connection or revelation

That it can not hold it all

And must spill over.

Those are your tears.”

And so..

My embarrassment lifted

And my tears have seldom felt like the enemy

From that day forward.


3 Responses to “The Gift Of Tears”

  1. Laura Hegfield on December 11th, 2011

    This makes perfect sense to me and reminds me of the last session I had with my spiritual director…tears were the focus on that morning, and the way the Holy One of Blessing’s tears flow through ours, a kind of unification.

  2. Peggy Nelson on December 21st, 2011

    Oh Cathy… once again, perfect timing. I sobbed all the way through the Lion King show at DisneyWorld last week. It felt like a healing of sorts… unexplained though my mind wanted to label it.

    Thanks for this post and because I am doing some catchup here…. your next post on how to be with a disabled person. Very moving.

    Blessings and joy this holiday season.


  3. linda burke on December 30th, 2011

    Now that I have subscribed to your blog, I have reread this entry at least 4 times. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You have shared a valuable way of looking at the tears that come to me at various times through my journey. Happy New Year to you!

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