I’ve been crying a lot lately.
Don’t worry, it's not a bad thing. It’s not bad at all actually. I’ve been crying a lot lately, because sometimes I’m simply overwhelmed by how blessed I feel every day.
And I don’t say this to sound like I’m bragging or to rub it in the faces of people who are going through a tough season of life. I say it because it’s true, and I think that joy should be celebrated. And it should be celebrated passionately.
I came across a passage the other day by inspirational sports legend, Jim Valvano. I’d like to share it with you all, because it honestly left me in tears:
“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
In broader culture, tears are sometimes considered taboo. You shouldn’t show too much emotion for fear of being perceived as weak. Tears mean something is wrong or broken and you need to fix it. I mean how many times have you heard that you should “wipe your tears” or “lighten up”?
But tears are not a sign of weakness, they’re a sign of bravery in feeling so deeply that you can no longer contain it. Tears are your anxieties, sadness, joy, and excitement leaking out of your body. Really it's a beautiful phenomenon of being human.
Feeling things deeply can be terrifying. If we’re honest, I’d say most of us exists in the range of 4-6. Meaning that if our emotions can range from 1-10, we like to play it safe. We don’t want to feel nothing at a 1, but we also refuse to feel the full extent of every emotion at a 10. So we go about our lives in the range of 4-6 where no one can hurt us and we avoid ever feeling pain.
But here is the catch, joy is a 10 kind of emotion. True, full joy should make you cry. It should make your heart almost leap out of your chest. Think about the days people usually qualify as the most joyful of their lives: their wedding day, graduations, the day their kids were born, etc. Do you think these are “playing it safe, 4-6” kind of days? Hell no. These are the days when you take a leap of faith. When you risk something. When you could fall oh so far, but instead you get to soar.
And those kind of boundlessly joyful days don’t have to be reserved for special occasions. You don’t have a limit on how many of these days you’re allowed. Besides, if those are considered the best days of your life, how lucky would you be if you got more than just a handful of them?
Who’s to say we can’t walk around in such awe of the world that it makes us cry? I found myself doing just that the other day. I was walking around Disney Springs and it just hit me. It hit me how much joy there is in this place. How many beautiful, happy families I’m surrounded by. How lucky I am to have the relationships in my life that are so special to me. And y’all, I kid you not, I just started weeping. Right there in the middle of a crowd, I started crying and laughing. I probably looked like a crazy person.
But the most joyful crazy person you ever did see.
Ask me about this moment if it had happened 2 years ago. How would I have felt? I would have been mortified. I would have been so nervous about what everyone around me would have thought. I would have been scared, so it never would have happened.
But I’m trying to live fearlessly. I’m trying to live every day at a 10. I’m trying to cry on the side of the street because I’m so overwhelmed with emotion that I just have to let it out. I’m trying to find true joy.
And sometimes that true joy brings me to tears.
Tears of joy. Tears that I absolutely savor.
So I hope you cry tears of joy today. I hope you release your fears and worries and get to just enjoy that pure emotion. Because as Jimmy V indicates above, doing that everyday will lead to a beautiful life.
And I wish you all the most beautiful life.