I have made a discovery. Tears are powerful.
I have been crying a lot lately. I am not sure what to attribute this to, although I am not really complaining. Suffice it to say, I am getting in touch with my emotions. My wife and I sat in our bedroom today and wept together about how much we love each other, and how grateful we are for our marriage. That sort of thing.
I do not just weep tears of joy, though. Sometimes I weep tears of grief, longing, and regret. I have been doing some deep spiritual work, and the pain of that work is often accompanied by tears. My point: I have been around folks a lot lately while I was crying, and frequently communicating with them my deepest thoughts and feelings, including my feelings about religion.
Here is the thing: Tears are powerful. I said that before, I realize, but it bears repeating. What I find in my own life is that if I state a message, no matter what that message is, and I accompany that message with tears, the message will then be believed. And it will be believed powerfully by whoever is receiving it. That is the power of tears.
Your sincerity is never in question if you are crying. It is impossible (at least very difficult) to fake tears, and it never really works anyway. You simply have to be genuine. And if you are genuine, then tears will flow. And when they flow, you will be believed.
I have had personal experience on the receiving end on this one, actually. I have previously told the story on this blog about how my father gave my sister a gun and told her to go home and kill herself. Which she did. Oddly, my father had a rather strange reaction to this event: He wept. Although she had done exactly what he told her to do, he in some twisted way thought that he was giving her a wake up call. So when she actually did commit suicide, then he was devastated with grief, and he wept for days, pretty much 24 hours a day.
In that case, the effect of tears was lost on me. It did not work. I did not receive my father’s message. Although I had no doubt that he was sincere, I was so enraged with him that his message was lost on me. I was not sympathetic to say the least. I was dry eyed and stoic through the entire experience of Debbie’s funeral.
I suppose this is the exception that proves the rule: If you truly hate the person who is crying and want him to die, then, no, tears do not suffice. I did have hatred in my heart for my father at that moment, and later, when I failed him and abandoned him on his deathbed I wrecked my vengeance.
Did it make me feel any better that I made my father’s passing more difficult? Did I benefit in any way? Would it have been so difficult for me to go down to that hospital and sit with him there in those last few moments of his life? (Tears are flowing again.)
But I did not do that. And now I wish I could take back that decision. I wish, more than anything, that I could look into my father’s beautiful flinty blue eyes, those sea captain eyes, and admit that I truly love him, and that he has had a more powerful impact on me (both for good and for bad) than any other single human, with the exception of my loving wife.