I noticed in my 40s that I cried more easily. As soon as I became aware of this, I began trying to figure it out. See if my ideas make sense to you.
I am not just talking about sad crying. I am talking about sad and glad crying. There are just as many things to cry happy tears about as there are sad things.
First of all, do not apologize for your tears. Once when I was doing one of my one-man shows, I was setting up a gospel song with a story and began to cry.
In a lucid moment, I saw that crying is a good thing, a healthy thing -- even a beautiful thing. So I said, "I am not going to apologize for my tears. There are enough hard-hearted people in the world, and I do not want to become one of them."
I noticed my father crying more when he preached, especially in his 70s and 80s. One day, I asked him about it. He said, "Son, we see so much pain and suffering in life that we become more empathetic. When we see people hurting, it hurts us more and more. The same thing is true of happy crying. We become less embarrassed about crying over happy thoughts and experiences. Life opens us up. We become more real and peel off more layers of phoniness."
My father taught me many things in his life, but I consider these words to be among his most eloquent and truthful insights.
I have come up with some of my own insights as I have continued thinking about this question of why we cry more as we get older.
If you have a guitar at one end of your house and another guitar at the other end of the house, you can hit an E string on one and the other guitar's E strings will resonate. I think we have a great big bowl right in the center of our being, a repository of all the experiences we have in life. Every time we have a new experience that resonates with something filed away in the soul bowl, we have a resonation. The more meaningful and powerful the filed-away-experience was to us, the more power it gives to the resonation. If it is a new sad experience, the soul bowl hits us with more energy and may bring tears. If we are having a new happy experience, it brings the most powerful emotions and energy from our soul bowl into our consciousness.
One more thing: The incredible moments of joy filed away in our soul bowl become stronger with time. Like my memories of the late Hoyle Picklesimer and the old semi-illiterate Watering Trough preacher who reached out to me when I was a troubled teenager. Both of these precious friends become nearer and dearer to me each passing day. It is natural for me to cry tears of joy and appreciation any time I think of them and their exceptional gifts to my life.
I don't know about you, but I am much more prone to cry tears of joy than sadness. Other people have told me the same. It's the fortunate way life heals us.
Tears are God's way of making us slow down and think of things that really matter.
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.