Sunday, April 12, 2015

pent-up tears

Perhaps I am paying the price for not having wept enough in my life: Maybe saving up, in whatever realm, implies that eventually there will be an imperative to spend.

Whatever the case, yesterday -- and more generally of late -- the tendency to cry has seemed to take hold. And it's not for the wracking stuff -- the wars, the poverty, the greed, the unkindnesses -- that my tear ducts have kicked in. Rather, it is the happy endings, the times when things work out, the beauty and the smiles that seem to tear (pun intended) me up.

Watching news, watching even thin-evidence movies, reading ... I feel unwilling to immerse myself in the high-voltage and often sad elements. These are the elements that need improving, and improvement requires a step back and an axiomatic sense that things could/can be 'better.' Also, a sense that "I deserve it" is at play and since much of my life rested on the axiom that somehow I do not deserve it, the tears have been dammed up ... and that damming is pretty energetic ... and the energy dwindles.

I crave the happy parts and duck the fiery furnaces of the human potential. I want to smile and feel the smooth satisfactions ... even as I may know the downside of the smiles I hope to smile: How miraculous the joys! It's enough to make me weep pent up tears and the tears feel good... not, it seems, that I could do much about them even if I wanted to.

I hesitate to mention all of this for fear some well-meant commentary will spring up -- beginning, perhaps, with "we all feel sorrow; we all feel joy ... best to let them run their course." Another TED talk; another stylized bit of extol-and-control. The dread "we" -- a word that tears do not recognize.

Maybe it's a romantic comedy that turns out predictably well, but not before some lumps and bumps I am unwilling to add into the mix. Childishly, but honestly, I want the good stuff and when it comes, as I know it will, I am grateful and happy and cry. Or a bit of music that melts my butter. Or a human interaction that is kind before another TED talk or spiritual encomium gets hold of it.

Yesterday was a day of tears that I had, perhaps, saved and saved and saved by trying to make improvements and feeling strongly that solving the wracking stuff required a step back.

I still feel that way, but the ability to step back and raise the flag on behalf of what is sincerely awful or vengeful or vile ... well, that ability seems, increasingly, to elude me. As my Zen teacher once said to me, "I am growing weak."

It's not sad, I guess. If a miser cannot spend what s/he has so lovingly husbanded, what good is it? Tears of joy are the same tears as the tears of sorrow ... only better from where I sit.

It's just an old man's smiling lament ... "ain't it awful" is not enough. Or maybe it is, but my capacities lose their vigor. I like the good stuff, the warming stuff, the stuff I have tried to impose with mixed results.

1 comment:

  1. I too find it easier to cry for a happy ending, especially with the powerful music movie makers can employ, than for the horrors for which i must insulate myself. But somehow news stories of happy endings are more inclined to make me feel cynical. I imagine it's more like a religious event orchestrated for a special occasion by the experts of Catholicism than the thin gruel of a baptist upbringing. But it's an emotional need, probably missing my mommy, that invokes a spiritual mantle. Life is such that i'm very grateful for the release of a happy ending. Maybe because my end is nearing it's become so important and powerful. Maybe it's because i've more time on my hands to notice it now. Dunno, but can relate.