Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's Tears

This morning, I was moved to tears by the prayer and benediction at the inauguration of our 44th President. This evening as my husband and I were reading mondegreens, I laughed so hard I couldn't hold still, and the tears were again tickling the corners of my eyes.

Experiencing the spectrum of emotion is a workout for the soul. Every pore opens and breathes. Blood tingles as it makes it course.

I remember a conversation I had with my parents a long time ago in which we talked about emotions. I hadn't had these parents very long (I didn't acquire them until I was eleven), and I'd somehow gotten the idea that it was wrong to be emotional. Even at eleven, I had learned to deny and push down my feelings, and to keep them in hiding. "Being 'emotional' doesn't have to be a bad thing," said my Dad. "It just means you are having feelings, and expressing them."

Much of our church traditions have balked at emotion. Churches have been mystified, bewildered, and afraid of feelings. Somewhere we got the idea that it is wrong to feel things. In certain circles, at certain times, in certain denominations, emotion has been accepted: but if you go outside their parameters, you may be labeled "out of control."

Sometime after that conversation with my new parents, I was given the book I Love the Word Impossible, by Ann Kiemel. She wrote that Jesus laughed with her, cried with her. I was in awe. Would I ever feel that free, to laugh, and cry, and be close to Jesus?

Well, yes.

But it would take some years of practice.

And that's fine. Practicing emotion is not a problem: there are always new chances to feel.

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