The Courage to Cry

This is an entry for the Writing Contest: You Deserve to be Inspired. Hosted by Positive Writer.

Most of us have the tendency to not want to cry in public.  Crying is seen as weak and not at all like how we want to be seen by the public around us. People who have it all together or who seem to have it all together are more respected in our society. There is also the actual issue of control that limits our ability to cry. I want to argue that crying or expressing emotion takes more courage than those who try to “maintain shields in public.”

It’s almost been a year since my husband was in the hospital for possible heart issues. He had experienced chest pain like he had experienced the previous year when he had also been in the hospital for a night. Every test that was run during both hospital stays had shown that things with his heart were normal. But, there was no explanation for why he was having chest pain or why he was so exhausted all of the time. He was at the end of his endurance as was I, the only difference being that it was okay for him to express it and not okay for me. I needed to be strong so I could take care of him and give him the encouragement he needed. This was not like his previous health issues. For those issues, there was a clear diagnosis and path to take care of whatever the issue was. It was not like that this time.

He was released from the hospital, and I was a tumble of emotions trying to handle his care, our household, and homeschooling our then 16-year old son. I didn’t know where to turn, and I felt lost, but didn’t feel like I could express it. On Saturday, I took our son to a youth event which would last overnight and came back home. I had been praying this whole time for healing for my husband, for clear answers, for something that would turn all of this around. (Oh, by the way, did I mention that my husband was the sole support of our family?) God had something else in mind though.

I woke up Sunday morning on edge and not certain whether I should leave my husband or not though I was going to have to go up to church to get our son by the time service was over. My husband was frustrated which increased my frustration. He wanted to go to church himself, but wasn’t in the shape to do so. I wanted to yell and scream and hurl insults at God for putting us through this. There had been no end to the pain and suffering over the past couple of years, and I wanted it to be over. I wanted, no, I needed to break, but didn’t know if I could. I was worried about what people would think of me.

I ended up deciding to go to our worship service and hide in the back so no one would see me. It was on the opposite side of the auditorium from where I usually sat.  But, even though I didn’t see very many people I knew, God still saw me. He spoke to me through the words of the songs and through the people who spoke to me. He also spoke to me through the sermon. I know the words came from God because my pastor had no idea what was going on. During the final prayer, tears started spilling from my eyes. I couldn’t hold them back any longer. When the congregation started singing Never Once by Matt Redman, I knew that was God’s signal. It was time to face my fear of rejection by being emotional in public.  I was weeping so much I could barely see as I made my way towards the front. I choked out words to my pastor. “Please pray for me. I can’t take this pain anymore.”

There were other words too, lost in the jumble.  He prayed, and people surrounded me, many more people than I had expected. I cried and shook from the relief of releasing the pain and stress. Once he finished the prayer, people hugged me and said it was ok. Their words were so encouraging, and I was blessed. I wondered why I had ever had any fear of breaking down. The relief I felt was palpable, and I felt strength come over me that I had not felt earlier in the morning. I was inspired to keep going.

Being a caregiver is not for the faint of heart. There are many stresses and pressures. Couple that with the fear of being judged for expressing emotion which had been programmed in me from childhood and it could have been a recipe for disaster. It wasn’t though. I was still loved even though I had cried. I figured out there was a reason God had given us tear ducts, and it wasn’t just to cry in private. I also wrote about it in my journal. These lessons helped me then and have helped me many times in the year since. Having the courage to cry is more beneficial to all of us physically, mentally, and emotionally than trying to hide our emotions. God knew what He was doing that day in my life by blessing me with this knowledge which is why I shared this post today. Blessings to all who read it.

8 Replies to “The Courage to Cry”

  1. Very good post! I, too, was a caregiver before my husband passed. It is one of the hardest things a person will ever have to do. Courage to cry, indeed. The biggest and probably unhealthiest impulse for pretty much any caregiver is the impulse to be strong, not ask for help and not show how vulnerable you really are. I’m glad you found your strength to cry. Thank you for this.

  2. I too had to find the courage to cry as an adult, also indwelled in me from my childhood. I can totally relate. Thank you for sharing. I know their are others out there like us and I hope they get the chance to read this. God Bless.

  3. Thank you for such an uplifting, encouraging post. Yes, it’s okay to cry in public, have done some myself. 🙂

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