Why I never cry alone

I cried at my computer today. I was writing a post for my local working mother’s Facebook group and big ugly tears come out of nowhere.

I let myself cry for a few minutes.

Then my kids came in and I did that Mom thing where you quickly wipe your eyes so they won’t ask why you’re crying. Because even though they should know it’s ok to cry and strong women embrace their emotions, I was in the middle of crying and not ready to field all the ‘but why mommy?’ questions if they noticed.

They left and I cried some more.

It didn’t turn into the really miserable crying when you can only collapse on your bed and wail into the pillow. Instead I recovered and clicked send on my post.

I sat staring at a blank computer screen, reflecting on how ugly crying is as much a part of living with faith as serene calm.

My goal isn’t a Zen state where nothing ever phases me and I’m one with the impermanence of the universe. This too might pass… but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck on the way through.

One of my teachers liked to say that ‘life is a full contact sport.’ The Jewish path of spirituality engages every part of your life, the bad as well as the good. There are times when we are explicitly instructed to be sad, to mourn, and even to be angry.

Because life can be messy and hard and sometimes it hurts. If you’re really in the trenches, working on being a better person, improving your relationships, and living a meaningful life, then it’s not always going to be fun.

Having a more meaningful life is not the same thing as having an easier one.

If your goal is to have a relationship with the Divine then sometimes it’ll get messy. Because real relationships are hard. It’s not faith to pretend everything is ok when it isn’t.

Own your feelings. You can cry the ugly tears and still know that everything happens for a reason. I’ve looked up into the sky and said ‘You’d better have a bloody good explanation for this particular circumstance because I am unimpressed.’

When we have a relationship with someone, sometimes we are angry, confused, sad or even downright furious. That doesn’t take away the love or even the trust.

My faith means that when I’m crying at my computer, I’m not sitting alone. The Creator of the Universe is sitting with me, handing me a theoretically tissue, and promising to explain it why it all needed to happen like this when my story is over.

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