In Others’ Words: The Sacredness of Tears

There was a time in my life when I would not allow myself to cry. 

Month after month, I refused to cry, swallowing the tears burning the back of my throat. The truth is, I had a lot to cry about. Repeated loss. Ongoing loneliness. And times of dark, dark doubt.

My faith wavered. I ached to the very core of my being and my soul seemed shattered. The one time I let my guard down and allowed tears to fill my eyes, someone walked in on me and … I stopped. And then I didn’t cry for 18 months.

My thoughts went like this: Why cry? What good does it do?  

Tears are necessary. Tears truly are the messengers of our grief. Our regret. Our love. Our doubt. And in their expression — in the release of tears — our burden is lifted, eased … if only for a few moments. And yes, tears are sacred because they can reveal what is hidden in our hearts — the emotions we can’t put into words .

In Your Words: When have you experienced the sacredness of tears — the ability of tears to express what your words could not?



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  1. November 7, 2017, 12:21 am   /  Reply

    I’ve gone through that sacredness, and out to the other side, which is a place of pitiless menace.

    Every hour is a challenge now, and I have to reinvent reasons to keep going. There are times I would like to cry, sure…but it doesn’t do any good. I’ll still be HERE, with absolutely brutal pain and fatigue informing every action, every moment of life.

    Being the hardest man alive is no longer a pose, it’s a purpose. Death will win, of course, but he’ll be exhausted an bleeding on the mat, when it’s all over.

    Let HIM cry.

    • November 7, 2017, 12:27 am   /  Reply

      And the worse it gets, the harder I push.


    • November 7, 2017, 7:58 am   /  Reply

      Andrew: I imagine your tears come few and far between — or like you say, not at all. Or rather, that your tears have been refine. Possibly postponed? Ignored? Or perhaps that others weep for you, my friend. You are in my prayers.

  2. Delores E. Topliff
    November 7, 2017, 5:46 am   /  Reply

    Your opening sentence is gripping–I won’t forget it. During times in childhood when being punished and beaten unjustly, I prayed not to cry because I sensed something in me would be defeated and broken and that I must not let that happen. But then later when life was safer, I couldn’t cry even at appropriate times. Then I prayed for tears and normal emotions to resume and still remain grateful that they have. There are also gentle tears of happiness, delight, fulfillment, but I know that all tears are a gift.

    • November 7, 2017, 8:01 am   /  Reply

      Dee: Yes, I think at times we fear that tears will break us. At times even now, I will not let myself cry until after the event (whatever it is) has passed, so that I have the needed strength to endure whatever it is.
      And yes, there are gentle tears that express joy and love and fulfillment … and those must not be overlooked because they are sacred too.

  3. November 7, 2017, 6:48 am   /  Reply

    Crying has always been difficult as an adult because when I do let go, it’s an ugly, gasping, red-nosed, puffy-eyed experience that’s difficult to subject anyone to. If you’ve seen me cry, you’re one of my closest friends.

    It’s a type of worship for me, too, because it means I’m letting my grasp of control flow with those tears. With those tears, I know I let God take over because I can do no more. Just like Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, I should bow at God’s altar and weep.

    • November 7, 2017, 8:04 am   /  Reply

      We all cry so differently. Sometimes I just sniff-sniff-sniff and my daughter asks, “You okay?” because she knows I’m trying not to cry. And other times, I bury my head in my pillow and allow the tears to flow — along with the sobs. No control.
      And all are sacred.
      All are heard and seen by God, who puts our tears in a bottle, scripture says. I’ve always been intrigued by this truth. God captures our tears, so they are sacred — valued — by Him too.

  4. Daphne Woodall
    November 7, 2017, 8:30 am   /  Reply

    Beth my best heart wrenching cries are alone. Thankful no houses are near me. Some have been because of hurts, others because of a close death. Sometimes you reach a point you have to let go. My sister had just died from cancer and I stepped out of her house and got a call my son’s young football coach and Christian mentor had died suddenly from a heart attack. I lost it there in the yard away from home. When my mother died while I was in college I didn’t have time to cry because I fainted. Then my father died by his own hand years later. That was when I truly felt like my heart was breaking from the physicality of crying. I sense God hears our cries and he brought healing in those situations. We are just passing through. The hardest would be the loss of a child which I hope I never experience.

    • November 7, 2017, 11:03 am   /  Reply

      First, I have to pause and thank you for sharing so honestly about those times of grief that have broken your heart and cause you to weep. Truly … thank you.
      I do believe God hears our prayers. He draws close to the brokenhearted. He brings healing through our tears.

  5. November 7, 2017, 12:21 pm   /  Reply

    Tears . . . I couldn’t release them for the longest time. And then, after walking through a life-defining trial, it seemed like God began to unlock them. My heart unburdened itself through the act of shedding tears. I was able to cry more easily in empathy for others, but for me? It’s taken a long time for me to trust God to unlock my emotions so I can cry for me, on occasion. So I can release the emotions that have no words.

    • November 7, 2017, 1:41 pm   /  Reply

      Jeanne: Your observation is a good one. So often we can cry more easily for someone else than we can cry for ourselves. Our own grief or our own joy. Maybe because it’s safer?

  6. Patty
    November 9, 2017, 5:23 pm   /  Reply

    I have never cried so much in my life, as I have in the last few years since I got married! The great love I have for my husband makes me all the more sad/sorry when I hurt or disappoint him.

    • November 9, 2017, 5:47 pm   /  Reply

      Your answer was quite unexpected … but I love how much you love your husband — and I hope the feeling is mutual.

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