Men don’t cry.
It should be what I talked about when I wrote The Greatest Lie You’ve Ever Been Told.
Since the time I was incarcerated, I’ve made it a goal to show the world a different me.
The only problem with showing the world a different me is just that–it’s a show.
A performer can only perform for so long. An actor can only go that extra mile for so long before the mask falls off and the broken, bloodied, and beaten person stands before the world represented not in picturesque strength, but in battle-torn weakness.
But the point is not the mask falling off, but a warrior still standing, still fighting, and believing in himself (or herself, ladies).
Accepting Hardships as a Pathway to Peace
I’m losing control, but the difference between losing control this time and the last time I lost control, is this time, I’m letting go of the reigns instead of having them pried from my stiff, selfish hands.
My mom was taken to the hospital this morning. One of her doctors believes she may have had another stroke. She’s come out of a few days of confusion, disorientation, and not understanding what’s going on.
It’s exhausting to find her putting salt on bread and telling me she’s making a sandwich or when she starts to put jam on bread with scissors. It’s soul crushing and stressful when she tries to go out the door in her underwear and yells at me as I take her medication from her to put it in a safe place and she yells “Why are you taking my pills!”
This is not the life I expected to be living at 31.
If it wasn’t for my mom, I’d be homeless, jobless, and without much of the support, I’ve received the last few years.
Today, despite this overwhelming sense of losing control (mom’s health, my future, my present, etc) I feel a deep peace beyond the fear that pervades much of my mind.
It’s a strange place to be, both at peace and fearful, but this experience with mom is teaching me to let go of what I can’t control and to take action in what I can.
I cannot change anything about the cognitive processes in my mother’s brain, but I can control my response to them.
I respond with anger, but I’m really afraid. I’m terrified. I lost my grandma in 2012 and the thought of being without the second closest person to me in this world terrifies me.
When I lose my mom, I will have lost the two closest people to me in my life.
That thought scares me, but maybe it’s what I need. To feel the fear and explore it. We are so quick to push away bad emotions, but perhaps they’re trying to tell us something greater about ourselves, our worldview, and what we can offer the world around us.
The Courage to Change the Things I can
I’ve always felt a certain responsibility for people, especially those I love the most. I wanted to care for my grandma and the other day when I was looking at my mom sleeping, I couldn’t help but cry. She’ll never know the tears I shed as I held her hand and rubbed it gently remembering all the days she rubbed my hand to help me not feel afraid.
But, for the first time, I was not afraid to let tears come. They needed to and I needed the release.
When you think something is funny, you laugh, so why we can we not cry when something is sad?
Wm. Paul Young penned these words in his book The Shack:
“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”
He also said later in a blog he wrote “When you shut down your emotions, you lose the color of life.”
So, if you need to, go ahead and be willing to shed a tear or weep like a baby. Sometimes your body needs to express what words cannot.
In this moment of uncertainty I think of two things my uncle and aunt said in the recent past that comforts me:
“The only thing certain in life is uncertainty” – my uncle
“No matter how bad it gets, it never lasts.” – my aunt
I know they’re simple quotes, but to me, in this season, they are wisdom.
Shed a tear and be well my friends,