Monday, April 11, 2011

The Eyes have it

I make people cry...often! I'm not sure what it is exactly about my interactions with those around me, but I feel like I have the "Gift of Tears". Growing up my brothers would probably have said that I had the gift of being a pansy, so stop crying already!

In the past week, five people have been brought to tears while in conversation with me. Scratch that. Make it six. I just took a quick phone call. Seven if you include me, I don't believe it's right for people to cry alone.

What name would you give the antithesis of Medusa? If you look Medusa in the eyes she turns you to stone. With one look from me I can reduce your rigid exterior into a puddle of tears and vulnerability. It's a substantial gift really. I'm like a conversational wizard.

Most interesting to me is how complete strangers are willing to share their story and tears with me. On the train ride home from a girls night in San Diego this week, a woman sitting diagonally across from me (my friend and I were sitting in a quad of seats that faced each other) began to share that she was in the middle of a divorce. Her family is in India and they are wanting her to come home. She was currently on her way to see her husband in hopes of being reunited, but that she was so stressed and lonely. I asked a few questions and told her how sorry I was that life was so hard for her right now, but the puzzling part of the whole thing was that she shared her story with no provocation. I had only looked at her and smiled when she sat down.
That's why I think it has something to do with my eyes. They are on the larger side and perhaps they often look misty since it takes a lot of moisture to keep that much surface area hydrated. My apologies if just looking at a picture of my eyes has made you well up.

The thing is, I absolutely love listening to people's stories. That a person is willing to trust me with their life (I'm like a doctor now!) and the stories it is made up of, I find a true honor. As a hair dresser I was in heaven with hour after hour of new stories to listen to (and plenty of tears in the shampoo bowl to wipe away...completely unrelated to what I did to their hair). In college I frequently flew back and forth between home and school. During those flights, more often then not, I would be engulfed in a father's turmoil over losing custody of his kids, or a grandmother's joy of visiting a newly born grandchild. Granted, those inflight conversation may have begun due to the psychology book I was studying from, rather than my eyes.

Tears used to feel like Kryptonite to me. (Now I'm Super Man?) They would zap me of all power and show me a weak person inable to control my emotions. Now I find them endearing and a sign of authenticity. I've found that a person in tears is at a point that most walls and pretenses are now lowered (or at least cracking a bit). There is strength in allowing yourself to feel and experience a sadness or joy that overwhelms you into tears. To mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice is extremely life giving.

Tears of sadness over a spouse of sixty years passing away. Over losing a child too soon. Over hearing your loved one has cancer for the first time. Or for the third time. Over injustices against those without protection. Even over the loss of boyfriend/girlfriend, or a dream changed or unfulfilled. Those are tears worth shedding and stories that I feel privileged to be invited in to.

Then there are my favorite kind of tears. Tears of Joy! Tears when you get the call that the cancer is gone! Tears when your first child is born. Or your third! Tears when two lives are joined together as one. Tears when freedom comes for those trapped against their will. Tears when a dream comes true! Those tears are ones that I am grateful to have the opportunity to shed!


  1. Privileged to have shed ALL kinds of tears with you!! Also I need to add, it has to do with your eyes, yes...but more importantly, it is your heart that allows people the freedom to open up and be at their most vulnerable in front of you. Yes, it is your beautiful, loving, ever-caring heart.

  2. Exactly what Katie said. xx

  3. This is why you make a good counselor!