Some of us were raised with this directive: "Grown men don't cry." Not everyone got the message.
Recent news from the sports world is about Knowshon Moneno and his tears. Moreno, a star player for the Denver Broncos of the NFL seems to not hold back his tears. The publicity is about how generous the tears are, but some comment on how sentimental he seems to be.
Now some of us were led to believe that tears were a sign of weakness. We look with wonder on a grown man who shed's tears without shame. We were taught that to be strong one had to buck up and not express our emotions.
But, my experience of deep grief has taught me something different. "Tears are an important way for us to find release from the pain of our loss. Some people would advise us to give up our pain and get on with our lives. They believe the cure for grieving is just deciding that you are over it. My experience suggests that pain and sadness are not something we can choose to surrender so easily. Pain has to give up on us. Tears are a way of helping us rinse out our souls so that the sadness releases its grip on us. (Lose, Love, Live: The Spiritual Gifts of Loss and Change", p. 44)
But, it is more than being freed from the pain. Tears are also a sign of strength. When we are weak, we cannot allow ourselves to feel because it threatens our self control. But, when we are strong, we can stand the feelings and we can express them. So, in our learning to live without someone or something that matters, when we are overcome with tears we can take courage because we are gaining strength for living a new life in the future.
I am glad young men didn't get the message that "grown men don't cry." When macho men in the NFL are not afraid to express their sadness, there is hope for better healing of the heart.