Thursday, January 08, 2009

Willing to Love Easier, Cry More

I can remember of a time back around Grade 4 or 5 where I was reading a book called "Run Silent, Run Deep." It was a story of submariners during the Second World War. At some junction of the plot a tragedy occurred where there was a loss of life. It is the first memory I have of where a literary work caused me to cry.

You know when you are really young you'll cry at almost anything. However, with boys there is a stage in their lives where they are expected to "suck it buttercup." That would be the teenage years. Probably the next time I cried, after my Dad died when I was twelve, was around my 21st birthday. The details to the why are not so important. I remember I had been playing the soundtrack to "Chariots of Fire" on my car stereo when the first tear rolled and the last almost didn't stop for fifteen minutes later. I guess I had been holding back on a lot of emotional items, and that day was intended for a huge withdrawal.

Probably as much as a good belly-laugh is good for you, then so is a good cry. It is a known among therapists that crying keeps us healthy by relieving tension, and crying also lubricates the eyes. and provides a physical catharsis that allows the body to discharge certain toxins, according to Carol Forsloff, journalist, mental health counsellor and teacher. Crying also releases a chemical called endorphins that make us happy.

As I am getting older I find that crying is now a legitimate antidote to sadness. Now that sounds all made up for the truth, which is, I am unashamed now to cry more often at age forty-seven. I am not one of those SNAG's -- Sensitive New Age Men. Heck no! Rather I will acknowledge when a well-composed literary piece or a slice of cinema catches me in the throat and gut. I will mourn the loss of friends and family. Probably because of the tragedy that has touched my life I hold tighter onto relationships than most. Then, when they depart I am sadder for longer periods than most. I recall that Florence Littauer, author of Personality Plus : How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself maintains that those who exhibit the Melancholy personality this is normal; for these people are deep and thoughtful individuals.

There have been times where I have felt really alone and unloved. In some cases I felt I needed to be resolved and macho to get through the situation. Subsequently I didn't shed tears. Now, I know that there was always somebody loving me, but from a distance. I don't necessarily mean God (although I am sure he was there), but that love did emanate with a family member or a friend. I also know that love continues to exist regardless of circumstance. Appreciably, I am willing to love easier than before and cry for others more often.

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