Friday, April 10, 2009
There is a season. . . (a time for tears)
This evening, I was walking around without my shoes on, which my doctor told me not to do. Part of my foot is numb, and when I was standing on something that was about to make me lose my balance, I did not know it, so I fell down. I didn't hurt myself, but the fact that it happened woke me up to the seriousness of my foot problem. You'd think that the constant doctor visits, physical therapy sessions, and the introduction of orthotic shoes and compression socks would have done the trick, but it had not. Nor did the pain. I'm used to pain. No, I had to fall down.
I was truly taken by surprise. It's not like I haven't fallen down before. Of course I have. I'm rather clumsy, and I have double vision, so falling down or knocking into things is nothing new.
So, really, I'm not sure why this little fall hit me so hard. Perhaps it was because I had just watched the film "Elegy" (based on Philip Roth's novel "The Dying Animal"). The subject of aging, and sickness, and the relationship between the two, is the theme of the movie, or at least a major element. And, no, it is not an uplifting film.
But I did not come here to write about movies. As I had written about crying before, just this week, I wondered to myself, "Am I depressed and not seeing it?" The answer is "No."
In fact, I believe that it is because I am not depressed that I am crying more freely than usual. I am finally, finally, getting over my fear of crying. I used to think that if I started to cry, I would not stop. Of course, there was never a shred of evidence that this was in fact so, for I'd cried many a time, and my generally dry eyes were proof that I was laboring under a delusion. But delusions are delusions, and thus, they don't wither under the bright light of fact.
It feels good to cry when I'm sad. I've never felt that before. It makes sense to shed a tear when one's heart is heavy, or when one is afraid. Holding it in, keeping a stiff upper lip; those things lead to one's emotions leaking out all over the place, and in manners unwanted.
Unfortunately, I don't think those around me appreciate my new-found freedom. Crying is for two-year-olds and the unstable. But I've written about this before. There's no need to repeat myself.
Last week, someone I knew, but had not known long, committed suicide. Oddly, I did shed a tear for her. I have noticed that I am apt to take my time reacting to such overtly emotional events. Or, it may just be that I feel an intellectual sort of sadness, for I barely knew the woman. Still, it is a great tragedy that this person was in such hell that she had to take her life. She was not only in emotional pain, but physical pain. The last time I saw her, she asked me, in a tiny little voice, "Is it really possible to be happy and hurt at the same time?" I answered, "Yes."
I heard that the last thing she had done before she took her life was to inquire about public housing. She was turned away. I do not know why, but I'm guessing she is was probably like the many people who fall through the cracks; too functional to get help and too dysfunctional to make it without any. So, it may be that I'm more angry than sad about this event. Every few months more services for those in need are cut.
People are killing each other, and themselves. We're in hard times. That is something, indeed, to cry about.
What can we do? I am not sure. But this I am sure of - we can at least be more emotionally available to others. Some folks buy guns because they think we're headed for a real dog-eat-dog time. No. No. No! This is not the time to shut down or just look out for our own. It's time to fling open our doors and become communities once again.
Painting note: I found this image, the right panel of "Resurrection of Christ" (1520-22) by Titian, and thought it was perfect for this post, and how odd, for it is Easter on Sunday.