The Last Time I Cried

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

Washington Irving

Many of those close to me know I like to play the “Hot Seat Game” with people. The game works best when there is a small group of people has some type of relationship with each other, and it’s important for there to be a commitment to confidentiality when a small group decides to play the “Hot Seat Game.”

In the game, an individual is put on the “Hot Seat.” The rules of the game permit anyone else to ask absolutely any question of the person in the Hot Seat. And the rules of the game also permit the person in the Hot Seat to please the fifth (or not answer) any question.

Typically, the “Hot Seat Game” starts with pretty basic questions: What’s your favorite color? Where were you born? How many pets have you had in your life?

From there the “Hot Seat Game” gets a little deeper: What are your biggest weaknesses? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Have you ever done anything illegal?

Finally, the “Hot Seat Game” can go right to the jugular: How is your spiritual life right now? How is your marriage? What is your biggest personal struggle with sin? And here is my favorite: When was the last time you cried and why?

I have witnessed grown men break down in tears as they have answered this last question. They’ve told stories of losing loved ones, of dealing with divorce, of missed opportunities with children.

I’m not a big crier. I just don’t cry all that often. I cried when I lost my grandparents. I shed tears when I we had to put our family dog to sleep. And I’ve admittedly shed a couple of tears at the end of a television show or a meaningful movie – like It’s A Wonderful Life.

I think lots of men are afraid to shed tears or they simply don’t know how to let down their guards – to expose their hearts.

As I reflect back on times when I have cried, I realize the tears actually brought relief. They gave expression to the grief, the stress, the pain, the sorrow, the joy, the thrill, the euphoria that I was experiencing at the time.

When was the last time I cried?

Friday night.

Yep. It was just a couple days ago when I had a small river of tears flowing down my left cheek.

The past few weeks have been an extremely busy, stressful, and exhausting time in my life. I have been battling a variety of challenging situations at work, and Leanne and I have been working together through a couple of tough transitions at home (don’t worry…our marriage is rock solid).

When I made it to Friday night, I suppose I was a bit more fragile than I realized. Leanne and I went to see the new Kendrick Brothers movie, Overcomer. The movie tells the story of a basketball/cross-country coach and a cross-country runner who are both struggling with their identities. Leanne and I both agree that the movie was fairly predictable, but we also agree that we would see it again (and again). The messages in the movie were pretty powerful.

At any rate, towards the end of the movie, tears started flowing down my left cheek. In a way, it was a sacred moment. The emotion evoked by the movie provided a place to release some of the other emotion from the past few weeks that had been bottled up inside me – emotion unexplained in words.

Crying is cleansing. There’s a reason for tears, happiness or sadness.

Dionne Warwick

Crying is cleansing. I like that. Life can be so challenging, so diverse, so amazing and so difficult at the same time. Our tears help to wash and polish our lives. They bring definition and meaning to things we simply cannot express in any other way.

So here’s my question for you:

When was the last time you cried and why?

Figure it out for yourself. Write it down. Ponder this experience. Reflect. Then feel free to leave a comment if you are willing to share.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8 (NLT)