ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Emotions - Do You Care Enough To Cry?

Updated on February 23, 2013

No one ever said it would be easy to be a caring human being. There were no promises that it wouldn’t hurt or that caring could be turned on or off. When you care, really care, you just learn to live with tears. You also learn to live with a heart that swells beyond its true capacity over the beauty found in the kindness of strangers or in the magnificence of nature.

Holidays are the worst. It’s like your heart is the ball in a pinball machine, bouncing from one thought to another. As they bounce, some strike the softness of compassion and others the steel of cruelty. In the end, when the bouncing stops, you are sometimes battered and exhausted and sometimes content and hopeful.

Bad news, good news

As I headed for the coffee pot this morning, my first thoughts were of our soldiers who couldn’t make it home for the holiday. I wondered how they must feel, sitting in a bunker in the desert or waking up in their bunk in the belly of an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. And, I cried.

It is raining here this morning and it’s cold. Standing at the window, looking out at the world, I thought of all those who are traveling, fighting the traffic and the weather to be with loved ones. For a moment, I was grateful for having my family so close. And I cried.

Picking up the newspaper, I scanned the local headlines – “One killed in Accident on Route 220”, “Neighbors React to Homicide”, “Three Adults, One Child Dead in House Fire” and I thought, isn’t there any good news?

Then, I turned the page and scanned the smaller headlines – “Local Veterans Honor Sandy Hook Victims”, “Local Churches Deliver Christmas Gifts to Newtown”, “Shop With a Cop Makes Christmas Possible for Local Children” and I thought – thank God. At least the god news made the second page. I laughed, and then, I cried.

I Care Enough to Cry

I’ve already heard sirens this morning, as they sped past on the way to the hospital a few blocks away. Even though I hear them frequently, I am always aware that somewhere, for some reason, a life has been changed today. Someone will not spend the holiday with loved ones or a family will spend it waiting and worrying. There will be no celebration for them today. And, I cried.

The kitchen window calls to me again. It is my dreaming place; the place where I stare out the window and dream of a happier world. It is where I contemplate the universe and envision a world where all are safe, all are fed, and all have a roof over their head. But my dreams are shattered today as I watch the homeless man who has been sleeping behind the dumpster head off to wherever he spends his days. He is still wearing the coat I left him and tonight I will leave the gloves and socks I picked up yesterday. He will have Christmas tonight and warm hands and feet too. And yes, I cried as I watched him go.

It's Personal

My thoughts turn to my own family and I feel a flutter of excitement that we will spend the evening together as a family. Since we don’t exchange gifts now, we will enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by my brother and sister-in-law and afterwards, we will sit by the fire and tell stories of times gone by. Oh, they are precious memories and remembering them fills me with joy and love. We are so blessed. My family is close and we are comfortable. We do not need or want any of the material things. We have enough and we are grateful. And again, I cried.

As I am writing this, the phone rings. It is my Dad, my precious Dad. He is 84 years old and is in the mid stage of Alzheimer’s. He is happy today but can’t remember why he called. He has no idea that it is Christmas Eve. Before we hang up, I tell him I love him and that I will see him in a few hours. When he asks me if I am coming to see him, it is clear that he has already forgotten. I feel the sting of that ball striking steel again. This will most likely be the last Christmas with my Dad still speaking and eating and for a moment, I can hardly breathe. And then I remember – I still have tonight, one more chance to tell him again how much I love him and hoping that it sticks somewhere in the remaining cells that remember. And, I cried.

Use It or Lose It

Now some might say I am crying too much, that I can’t possibly enjoy the holiday when I have already cried many times today. To those, I would ask, is the alternative better? Is it better not to care so much?

No, it is not better. The things that bring the tears matter to me. They are the emotions of relationship, of connection to the world around you, of compassion, of feeling morally and socially responsible for creating a world where others have as much as I have. You see, I am loved. I have shelter and food, heat and health. I need nothing and have everything – everything that really matters. And I am grateful. If the price I pay for caring and appreciating life is a few tears, then so be it.

I wish you, whoever you are, all the things in life that matter. I wish you health, love, shelter and food, and I wish you tears. Let the joy and sadness in the world move you to feel. We were not given the capacity to experience emotion for nothing. Use it, or lose it.

© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.

Read more of my hubs here.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello rahul. That is a strange way to cry but we are individuals and we have to process our grief in the way that works best for us. Thank you for reading this and sharing your story. I hope both of us have less tearful days ahead.

  • rahul0324 profile image

    Jessee R 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

    I have a strange way of crying .... I cry alone in front of the mirror... somehow it helps me to analyse the situation and vent out better than crying outside...

    Useful article

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Leslie, we are very much alike I think. I do have a soft heart but trust me, I have an outer crust that is multi-layered. :-) But, like you, I'm not going to change. I'll just keep on caring and getting back up.

  • ImKarn23 profile image

    Karen Silverman 4 years ago

    Linda...i love that you cry! I love that your family is tight and that you don't need material things to enjoy time together - only each other and wonderful memories!

    I've been told the same thing - many times: "you care too much" - and my answer is the same as yours - or close..I ask if it would be better if i cared LESS - or that others cared MORE!

    I'll stick with caring...and crying...thank you!

    And...thank YOU, my friend - i love your sweet, soft heart!

  • btrbell profile image

    Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

    Thank you, Linda! we had a quiet Christmas, spent with new friends, good people.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Dear Randi. Your heart is so pure and tender. Thank you for your sweet sentiment. I am so grateful for this Christmas with my family, but especially with my Dad. We know it will be the last and that made it so much more special. He was mentally with us in fragments and so we were blessed. I hope that your was warm and filled with love too Randi.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    MizB - I love you. You are so special and always have a balanced view to offer. I do have to be careful sometimes, that I don't let the world's problems drag me down. I've never been depressed but I have sure had a heavy heart at times. Lately, I have become more aware of that and realizing that I have to balance things. I think you will appreciate the hub I wrote today about Time. :-)

    Thanks for being the voice of reason and, a real friend. Happy New Year to you and MrB.

  • btrbell profile image

    Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

    I read this hub and I cried. With you, for you and for me and for all everyone. What a beautiful hub, beautiful sentiments and a perfect song to accompany your words. I hope you had a beautiful Christmas and I hope yoor father enjoyed it with you! Thank you Linda for reminding us what it is all about!

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 4 years ago

    It is good to care, but don't let your caring turn into feelings of guilt. I think some people cry because they try to do too much, and when they realize they can't accomplish everything, they feel guilty. Be careful, my friend, that you don't let the world's troubles get you down. You are such a sweet, senstive lady. Just remember that you have a sacred contract to fulfull, and that you cannot be responsible for the happiness of others . Humanities' purpose on this earth is for life's experience, and each person is fulfulling his or her own sacred contract, even those less fortunate than we are. I know that there will be a special place in heaven for people who really care.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Dear Angela, I thought of you as I wrote this one and wondered if you would laugh at me. :-) I am an expert tear manufacturer. Everything makes me cry, sunsets, songs, a photo, the wrinkled face of an elder who still has a sparkle in their eye. It doesn't take much. They all create precious memories and therein is my greatest fear - that I, like my Dad, will develop Alzheimer's and lose those wonderful memories that mean so much.

    I love your perspective on life and am lways so happy when you leave me a coment. I learn something everytime. Wishing you all the best in the New Year too!

  • Angela Blair profile image

    Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

    Linda -- for me, tears are the jewels that honor a person, event, etc. and should be as treasured as smiles -- on which we seem to agree. I think more tears are shed over fond memories than anything else and your capacity for caring will assure those memories a forever home. Happy New Year! Best/Sis

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Maria, I have thought about you so much over the holiday. I know you understand these emotions. For both of us, this particular Christmas had special significance. We were both blessed to have one more with our family, weren't we? Hugs to you my friend.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Merry Christmas Pamela! Trust me, I am good friends with a good old cry. lol You're right, we can't care too much and I wouldn't trade these tears for all the money in the world. Thank you for reading this and understanding.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Oh Linda,

    I cried as I read this and it has not been the first time today...for many of the same types of reasons as you.

    I hope that you had a beautiful Christmas evening with your family, one that will give you warm and tender memories in the years to come.

    Thank you for this thoughtful piece and the beautiful gift of your friendship. Love, Maria

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

    I don't think we can care too much unless our emotions are so overwhelming that we can't function. I would certainly rather be a caring person. Holidays can be emotional for many people and there is nothing wrong with a good cry now and then. Voted up!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sweet Amy, you always lift my spirits. The holidays are tough sometimes but so full in the richness of friends and family. I count you as one of my blessings this yea. Thank you for always painting a picture of understanding and compassion with your gift of writing. Merry Christmas to you too dear one.

  • Amy Becherer profile image

    Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Caring too much, if there is such a thing, means that we feel deeply. With that, we are able to appreciate the richness of happiness and joy, as well. If we didn't care, could we love or understand and emphasize with those who are suffering? I don't believe you would think about the homeless man if you weren't able to care or cry for his loneliness and suffering. Nor would you feel gratified and happy that you can and are making the choice to discreetly, thoughtfully care for him. Feeling means we don't discriminate between sadness, loss, joy, love and laughter. We feel them all. Without an emotional response to feeling, humanity would be flat and lifeless. Bravo for this thought-provoking, introspective look into what makes us fully human, Linda. Merry Christmas, my dear friend.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, thanks. But I think that is the one area where I choose to live in a bubble. I don't think I want to know ahead of time that one day I won't know my own name. LOL

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, I think there are tests for that now. Two years ago one of my aunts died of dimensia, but the other of mom's sibling did not experience dimensia before they died. I've also read that certain foods such as synthetic sugars lead to alzheimer's. You might want to google that. As you well know, you are what you eat and God did not intend for us to try to make better what Mother Nature has to offer.

    Merry Christmas sister!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Merry Christmas Shauna. I hope you're having a super holiday. I'm a professional crier. lol I've always been this way and cry easily when I'm happy or sad and you're right, it is cleansing. Shauna, every moment we are here, no matter what life throws at us, is a gift and as you said, one more moment in time to make a memory. We did make some memories this year. I just hope my Dad's Alzheimer's isn't hereditary and I can remember them. :-)

    Merry Christmas my sister-friend.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Carol. Merry Christmas. I'm okay with crying too. I'd rather cry all the time than not feel at all. Hope you are having a really good day!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    MH, you are so kind. I am happy, even though I am crying a lot. Holidays do that to me. lol We all grieve differently, don't we? I am sure the holidays are difficult since you lost your wife. They are difficult for many people for many reasons. But, if we reach out to each other, things are a little easier. Thanks for reaching out. Merry Christmas.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, there is nothing wrong with tears. They cleanse the soul even if they are tears of heartache and sadness. Tears are the reality of a true heart full of love.

    Enjoy your Christmas with your family and relish the memories. Today you will make one more memory to be shared.

    Merry Christmas, Linda. God bless you!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    I also am way to emotional about things. I think you either have the "feeling bug" or you don't. I know many people who seem to emotionless. It is okay to cry and at least we know we are alive and feel.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Martin's rule: Never, never, never do a funeral for a close friend. I did and turned into a crying mess. Strangely, when my wife died, I didn't cry. This concerned others so much I was not left alone months. I cry a lot lately. (But I am happy much more.) But now, you be happy and thank you for this beautiful share

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi shiningirisheyes. Your comment really touched me. Thank you so much. I am home now and although my Dad was mostly quiet tonight, I did get some good video and pictures of him and...the best part...a good hug. I've had my good cry now and tomorrow is a new day. You are so precious to care so much. I hope your holiday will be all you dare to dream. Thank you!

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

    Linda - I am so thankful you get to put your arms around you Dad for Christmas. Although this article brings up many valid points, that one struck home.

    Enjoy your holiday my friend. You deserve it so.

    XO

  • profile image

    JThomp42 4 years ago

    You are very welcome my dear friend!!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you Jeff!

  • profile image

    JThomp42 4 years ago

    Wishing you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas Linda!!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Jeff, thank you for sharing your feelings. You are very much like my brother, who I have never seen cry but has a very tender heart. I will tell you like I tell him - crying is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and compassion. I think when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with those we love, we are bound even tighter.

    You're a really good guy Jeff and I wish you the best of the holiday!

    Hugs!

  • profile image

    JThomp42 4 years ago

    Wonderful hub Linda!! I also am very soft hearted and weep often. But, my heart weeps. I cry when alone. Although I am comfortable with myself, I must remain strong for my family. I will not let them see me cry. But as I said, my heart weeps often.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    And that, billybuc, is why we are two peas in a pod. :-)

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    There are days, Linda, when I am convinced that I care too much. Empathy, as you well know, is a double-edged sword, and at times it is painful to feel the heartache and misery of others.

    I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

    love,

    bill