Tears are a little gift that God has given us, which I am oftentimes too embarrassed to use, publicly or even privately. They stream from the same place but for different reasons, yet, with the same purpose, which, in my opinion, is to cleanse the soul. My tear ducts welled up and overflowed with unbelievable joy the night Obama won the presidency. The world doubled over in tears of ecstasy, all at the same moment, which made me happy to add mine to the mix, without any embarrassment at all - however, in the privacy of my own home.
There are those tears that joyfully accompany such glorious events as weddings and prideful moments, that seem to punctuate our feelings, like icing on a cake. Or the tears of sentimentality that allows us to connect to the memories of that which preceded us and begs us to join in the bliss of it.
We all know the tears that trickle down our cheeks because of the loss of someone or something that was dear to us. They wet our sleeves and our pillows in those most private of moments, oftentimes, when we are sure others cannot see the hurt that consumes us. They purposefully seem to wash the pain that is so deep that it knows no end or resolution and act like a God given salve, to bridge the emotional gap that is cleaved from our inability to accept a loss we do not want.
Then there are the tears that erupts suddenly from something that is so uproariously funny that laughter is not enough to contain one's reaction to it. These are the rare moments that are impossible to predict or create because spontaneity is a required precondition for it to occur. One's inner soul is racked to the core by the silly implausibility of a circumstance or situation so that it's cleansing is so complete as to leave nothing there for the moments that follow.
Tears can also flow as a mixture of joy and sadness simultaneously, as they did yesterday for me at the memorial of our dear friend, Philip Reed. Someone who had touched my life so deeply, in such a funny and loving way, could also be felt as he reverberated throughout the hall, in the tears of others. The joy of his existence in our lives as a friend, brother, leader, giver, instigator, fighter, activist and lover, were happily expressed by these emotionally encompassing tears that soothed our souls and carried his touch.