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Hudson pastor column: Tears are an expression of love

Aaron Steffen

I don't know about you, but I do not cry often. As an adult male who has aged 36 years, I have found that there are not too many experiences left that can force me to cry the way I used to, or the way my kids do when they are upset. Honestly, I am not too sure WHEN crying became something I tried to avoid, instead of something that was ok, but I do know that it's an infrequent thing in my life to be sure—and it's probably not making a comeback any time soon.

Tears are a unique emotional expression. They seem to come almost as out of nowhere — without warning — and literally from a place in your body that would seem to not exist. It is my contention that the only thing about tears that makes sense physically is the fact that they are made of water and salt — two of the major components of the human body. Other than that they are an enigma — unlike most others.

The other strange thing about tears is that while they almost always represent extreme emotion — they present themselves for both extremely positive and extremely negative emotional outbursts. They come pouring out in times of sadness — almost representing the physical pain we are experiencing as it leaves our body. And yet, when we're overjoyed — there they are — again exiting our eyes — expressing to the world that we have too much happiness to contain.

I have experienced both types to be sure. I have wept violently at the grave of my grandmother — struggling even to breathe. And I cried like a little girl at my brother's wedding as I toasted him and his beautiful new bride.

I think the common denominator in these scenarios is love. I still love my grandma to be sure — and I miss her always. And I love my brother — and his wife — and my excitement for them is off the charts. So I have deduced that tears are an expression of love — both in joy and heartbreak.

While I am not against coming to valid conclusions on my own — I must also admit I find this one to be Biblical. John 11:35 — "Jesus wept." It's true in this particular instance it was out of sadness — I find it reassuring that Jesus himself expressed this very human exhibition of emotion — and I think it's safe to assume He also cried tears of joy at some point in His life — and in both circumstances they were out of love. Love for His family — love for His friends — love for those He came to save.

So I am not ashamed of my tears. If the very Son of God allowed himself to express his emotions this way — so will I. I will cry like a schoolgirl if I need to — in order to express the love I have for others. And while I might not always understand why I am doing it — I will allow it to reassure me that my life was and is filled with love — and I hope it always will be.