I grew up in an era embracing the clich? “real men don’t cry”. I cannot remember one conversation at home, school, or in the dorm on the subject. We, men, just knew. Crying was like a lot of stuff in life; it happened but one didn’t talk about it, acknowledge it existence, or allowed one to be consumed by it. The other stuff on the forbidden list included anything related to getting old, the heart stuff of relationships (except of course visible externals), or anything one could call soft. We were strong! We were invincible. We were individuals who could accomplish anything.
Now that I have had the privilege of walking, running, and at times struggling through several decades, I don’t see the hidden stuff as hidden. It is more than just getting old. If one wants to experience the fullness of life, one accepts and lives with the complete spectrum of emotions. Life is, at times, painful and difficult. It is part of life to sing, write, and even talk about it. Life can be wonderful, awesome, and beautiful. One can yell, cry, and even sit in silent in response to the gifts one receives. It is amazing! Tears and bowel movements are part of living. Screams and thirst often walk near each other. I find, in the fullness of the experience, across the junk and beauty, in the tears and quietness, and in understanding and while being puzzled, that one catches glimpses of Divinity at work.
Big men and small have discovered this perspective over time. When confronted, “Hezekiah turned away from Isaiah and, facing the wall, prayed to God: ‘God, please, I beg you: Remember how I've lived my life. I've lived faithfully in your presence, lived out of a heart that was totally yours. You've seen how I've lived, the good that I have done.’ And Hezekiah wept as he prayed—painful tears.” (Isaiah 38.2, 3)
Today you and I have the opportunity to be transparently present. We can live and discover compassion, love, and mercy in every corner of life.
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