The other day, I was telling my kids about a book I really loved that made me cry. My teenage daughter looked at me and said, “Low bar, Mom.”
She’s right, because I cry. A lot.
I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m angry.
I cry when I’m really stressed or frustrated or anxious. I cry when I’m overwhelmed.
I feel things really deeply, you see. I feel lots of emotions. Tons of them, really, swarming and bumping inside of me, seething and swirling around. I’m often not sure how it’s possible to feel AS MUCH as I feel. I am a lot, remember? And part of being A LOT is FEELING a lot, so much intensity, so much of the time. And that intensity tends to…well…leak out of my eyes.
Last week, we went down to Nashville to see the neurologist for Gary. We’re talking about some big decisions right now and there’s quite a bit of swirling anxiety around it for me and I’m kind of stressed at work, too–it’s been a hard few weeks–and, well, I was just OVERWROUGHT (or the right amount of “wrought”? I mean, it feels rather judgmental to say overwrought? I was just…wrought?). Anyway. I was on edge. I was FULL of emotion. We got down to Nashville around 11:15 for a 12:30 appointment, so we went to eat some lunch. We sat down at a table and I promptly knocked over a plate with a huge clatter. Everyone looked, I picked it up and said, “We’re a mess, sorry.” And proceeded to sit there and leak tears out of my eyes. I wasn’t sobbing. I was just…overfull. Leaking. Tears down my face.
Gary held my hand. I blotted my eyes with a napkin and felt like a fool for crying in the middle of the restaurant (I AM SUCH AN AWFUL A LOT ALL THE TIME). I couldn’t quite stop leaking tears, though.
About five minutes later, the hostess came over and said, “Another table sent this to you,” and handed me a gift card. A gift card, to cover our lunch.
Some lovely human being, someone else at that restaurant, someone who didn’t know anything about our story, anything about why I was leaking tears or what was going on–that person saw that I was having a hard moment, knew that SOMETHING was UP and sent us a little love note in the form of that gift card.
I felt like they said, “Hey, I see you. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I see you and I care and I send you kindness.”
“I send you kindness.”
I haven’t blogged about this at all–it’s not my story to tell–but my friends lost their three-year old son this summer. Through unspeakable, unwordable tragedy and trauma, they have held onto that mantra of kindness: Be Kind. Remember their son through acts of kindness.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
When emotions are really strong, somehow they expand to contain their opposites. Anger so fierce it burns with beauty, contains something admirable and beckoning in the midst of its deadly danger. Beauty so piercing that it hurts, like so much of the world. Love can be so strong that it’s painful, that it carries a shadow of sorrow or foreshadowing of loss. Grief so pure that it rings like a clear bell.
I think this is why I cry so much. Because of ALL OF THIS. The world is just so much: joys and sorrows and fears and delights and worries and and and all jumbled up together into this messy ball of life that’s just absolutely overwhelming in its intensity, for better and for worse. For both. All at once and all at the same time. All together and intertwined. So much love and so much loss, so much hope and so much grief. So much.
And it leaks out my eyes.