Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Real Man Feels No Shame When Tears Appear

                Grown men crying.

                In some quarters, men are criticized as weak when they cry.

                I guess the theory goes like this: A man who is strong has control over his emotions and therefore does not cry.

                I'll never forget the first time I saw a grown man cry.

                It was my own father.

    I was  about 9 years old and my father was this remarkable rock. The foundation of our family never wavered regardless of the stress thrust upon him.

                And I'm sure there was plenty of stress when you were responsible for supporting ten children and had to  figure out how to send all of them to college.

    Anyway, Dad was at the dinner table and began to reminisce about Little John, the first baby born to Jack and Jackie Lynch, the older brother that I never met.

                You see, Little John lived for only nine months and then succumbed to pneumonia, throwing my mom and dad into a very dark place of which they rarely spoke.

                 I was deeply moved to see my dad step out of that warm ray of sunshine that seemed to be part of his personality at all times.

                I loved that he allowed us kids to see that wound that day and  I love the fact that this rare moment taught me that it's okay to cry every now and then.

    Speaker of the House John Boehner is ridiculed because the tears flow when he is moved by a sublime idea. Just recently he cried at a special congressional ceremony to say goodbye to retiring Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

                Those of you who followed  the career of former Senator George Voinovich know that he cried in public on more than one occasion. I assure you, however, that this only happened when his heart was captured by a special joy or sadness.

Just a couple months ago Euclid Mayor Bill Cervenik broke into tears at his own inauguration ceremony. Few in the crowd realized that the Mayor's brother died that very same afternoon and His Honor  was overcome by the  contrast between the exhilaration of his re-election and the tragedy of his brother's departure at way too young an age.

                When Jesus came to Bethany, Mary and Martha shared their grief over the death of their brother Lazarus and Jesus wept. The Son of Man was a real man in every way.

                 And he wept.

    For my part, I find a certain catharsis in letting it all out.

     My heart aches when my children are far away from me. When they tell me they love me. When they get married.

                I can't even imagine the feeling of loss when Little John went from his crib to the cemetery. A  man that doesn't cry in a situation like that is no  man at all.

                Truth be told, sometimes an emotional scene in a movie causes me to tear up a little bit.

                Did any of you see the scene in the movie Marley And Me where the dad bids a tearful goodbye to his very best friend as he passes  away into eternity under the influence of the euthanization drug administered by the veterinarian?

I also tend to choke up during the singing of our national anthem. I think about the young families without dads and husbands because brave American boys sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

So here's a tribute to grown men crying.

We all carry heavy burdens and our heavenly father has equipped us  with the plumbing to release some of the pressure when the time is right.

There's no shame in that.

Remember Little John.

My Dad never forgot him.

He remembered.

Tearfully, he remembered.

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