When I was eleven-years-old we had a Primary activity at my house. Each girl brought her mother. I don’t remember anything about it except the grand finale. Each young girl was supposed to stand and express their love to their mother and share some things they appreciated about her. I was part of a large class of young ladies. Girl after girl stood up and shared and cried and cried. Then it was my turn. I stood up, smiled, told the audience that I loved my mother very much. Then I shared some of the things I loved about her and sat down. No Tears! I was sure that for that reason alone my mother and everyone else doubted my sincerity.
Then it was on the Church’s Young Women’s camp. Traditionally, the last night of camp is devoted to sitting around the campfire and sharing testimonies. Summer after summer I shared an upbeat, sincere, optimistic but tearless testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, my love for Heavenly Father and Jesus, and my gratitude for my family and my friends. As the other girls shared and cried and cried, mostly over their sorrow and remorse in connection to the damage they had done to each other during this week away from home, I waited for my turn. Sometimes I would try to think of something sad like, “What if I had a dog and it died?” It seemed that for absolutely everyone else this was a very wet event. I always went to sleep after this experience knowing that any testimony minus tears was suspect.
Last week my brother and his family had a sad experience. Their little pet, a lop-eared bunny rabbit named Ruby died. My brother and sister-in-law have four sons, age twelve and ten and twins age five. They held a little funeral for their pet and talked to the boys about the Spirit world where their little bunny was no doubt now nibbling on heavenly grass. My oldest nephew held back the tears until his just younger brother fell apart and gave him a hug. Then he lost it. Taking particular notice of one of the twins and wanting to assist him with this sad family event my sister-in-law said, “Landon, it’s OK if you don’t cry, but are you sad? Do you understand about Ruby? Are you doin’ OK? You know it’s alright to cry.” Landon replied, putting his hand on his heart, “Well, I feel it here.” Then pointing to his eyes he said, “But not here.” Landon’s heart hurt, but his eyes were OK.
“Out of the mouths of babes!” Something healed in me when I heard that story. Landon’s response awakened in me a new tenderness toward myself and all other people whose tear ducts are not constantly connected to their hearts. Someone well versed in psychology might want to delve deeper and discuss the grief cycle or repression of feelings. I choose to keep it simple. Sometimes my heart is full of pain, but my eyes are OK. Sometimes my heart is full to the brim with joy, but my eyes are OK, and that’s OK.
By Nannette W.
Posted Monday, October 19, 2009
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