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Dena Dyer is a writer, singer, actress and speaker who has had hundreds of short stories, articles, book reviews, poems and devotionals published in over 125 magazines, including Woman's World, Writer's Digest, Today's Christian Woman, The Spirit Led Woman , Brio , HomeLife and Discipleship Journal. She is a regular columnist for SHINE magazine and has contributed to several books, including Rest Stops for Busy Moms (B & H, 2003), The Heart of a Mother (Bethany House, 2003), The Art of Helping (RiverOak, 2003) and Simple Pleasures of Friendship (Conari, 2003).
Dena makes her home in Granbury, Texas, with her son (Jordan, 4) and performer/producer hubby (Carey, 31 but a child at heart). For more information, visit her website at: www.denadyer.com.
Sowing in Tears
By Dena J. Dyer
It was December 1997. With a pillow on top of my pregnant belly and my swollen feet propped on the coffee table, I watched a television montage of the most amazing moments of the year. As a picture of the McCaughey septuplets flashed on the screen, underscored by "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King, I bawled like a baby. That's when it hit me--something had definitely changed.
I used to almost never cry at television shows, movies or commercials. Now I blubber endlessly at anything remotely sentimental. Why the change? I believe it's a combination of hormones, life experiences and the realization that life is uncertain (and often wonderful).
As many people advised me during my pregnancy, once you have a child, nothing is the same--including your emotional makeup. The difference was even more dramatic for me because it was so unexpected. During my youth, I was almost proud that books or movies didn't affect me. "It's just make-believe," I told myself. I wasn't involved enough in the stories to feel deep emotion, and I felt silly trying to conjure up something that wasn't there.
Growing up, I saw tears as a weakness. They simply weren't normal or healthy. Now, however, I know tears are an integral part of life—as necessary as breathing, eating and sleeping. "Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry," said Kahlil Gibran. In fact, an inability to cry is often cited as a symptom of depression. I feel much better after a good cry. That’s the way our maker intended it: Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”
I suffered from mild depression for many years, and it took a traumatic series of events (including a job change, a miscarriage and two good friends moving across the country) to make me seek the help I needed. I was afraid to dig into the feelings I had hidden for years--terrified that once the dam was breached, there would be no stopping the floodwaters.
And I did cry buckets during my year in therapy, but they were healing tears. So were the tears I tasted after delivering my son, for whom my husband and I had waited and prayed.
Not all tears are about grief, however. Sometimes we parents shed tears born out of vulnerability. When we see the news of yet another terrorist attack, we sob for fear that such horrible violence could touch our families. While images of anguished parents roll past us, we share in their pain.
We also cry because we are happy for ourselves, a family member or even a stranger. Since I've had my son, I feel more connected to the rest of the world, whether in joy or in sorrow. And that's just fine with me.
So whether I am weeping at a wedding, crying during a funeral or tearing up while listening to a friend's good fortune, I am no longer ashamed.
Are you embarrassed about your tears? Relax. They're good for you. Cry your eyes out, if you need to. (Just stock up on the tissues with aloe vera in them first!)
After the birth of our son, I sat on the couch with my husband, watching a couple reconcile during the final episode of my favorite sitcom. I wasn’t surprised when the waterworks started, but my husband stared at me with an odd expression. "What's the matter?" he asked.
"Nothing," I answered, smiling through my tears. "Nothing at all."