Boys Can Cry

Everybody has Tear Ducts

I believe that the reason God gave us tear ducts is twofold. The first reason is that it’s a natural way to clean our eyes; and the second, and perhaps more important, reason is that tear ducts are the pathways through which we can release emotions and heal. Pathways to healing, if you will.

Boys Can Cry

The first time I saw Dad cry was when he lost his dad. I had this misconstrued, societally promoted, false idea that grown men don’t cry so I just sat there, dumbfounded, watching him cry. We were at the family home on a Greek island when this happened in what we call the ‘trapezaria’—a very large room with antique furniture, a huge marble table on which, during WWII, the Italians conceded to the Germans, a checkered black and white, tile floor that bears embedded markings of heavy gun stands, large, bay windows, and slightly cracked paintings of our ancestors adorning its walls—and I felt devasted. I thought, The bastion of our family is crying and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Ove the years, after having put much thought into it, I realized that both men and women have tear ducts which means that it is okay—and necessary—for both genders to cry. I know that this may sound absurd, but it took that long for me to figure that “boys can cry.”

Cry Your Heart Out

Today, I can tell you that I appreciate people (men and women) who cry because the inability to do so means that a plethora of unspoken, unreleased, unhealed emotions are ‘stuck inside,’ preventing us from fully living the life we were meant to live.

I know this to be true because a client once expressed to me, after having worked in the care field for years, that she was unable to leave her clients’ problems at work, when she came home. She spoke with a tinge of frustration and irony,

‘They say that you’re supposed to emotionally detach, but can you really?’

The end result was that she developed anxiety and was unable to live her intended life fully. Her hands trembled slightly, They be feelin’ parched, dry, and tinglin’, and she would lie prone on her bed in a dark room with the shades drawn and her eyes half shut.

Jacintha* looked at me with a pained, stiff expression and matter-of-factly confessed,

‘I can’t cry.’

For a moment, this left me speechless. It was as if she’d said something unspeakable.

The Gift of Tears

In many ways, tears—and the ability to shed them—is a gift from the Creator.

Life is hard, problems abound, and if we can’t cry, then we’re not using our tear ducts properly. Our eyes remain dry, and our souls tormented by anxious spirits that haunt our daily living. We live in a psycho-spiritual, arid desert.

You live with fear, but it is an illusion.

The mask you wear hides the essence of your soul.

The river has run dry; your tongue has become parched with thirst.

A drought, like the one that plagued Ahab, has plagued you.

Jacintha is old now. She uses a walker. Her children and grandchildren are her primary concern, but from a vantage point of anxiety.

What will become of that boy? He want to buy a condo. Be wantin’ more money. Be wantin’ to rise in the company, but makin’ enemies, too. Want to move up too quickly. What will become of him?

Light has a way of creeping in from unlikely place—it trickles in from behind the shades. Flip on a light switch, too, ‘cause you can.

A glimmer of hope, an outpouring of light, that tears will come, flow, and end the drought.

*Name changed to protect identity.