In the years since writing The Shack, it’s been an honor for me to see which parts of it move and inspire people the most. I’ve noticed a few quotes seem to especially resound with readers, and I thought it might be helpful for me to unpack a few of those moments a little further here.
“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”
–The Shack, pg 228
I love tears.
I look back at my own story and I know there are times when I’ve shut down emotionally. You probably have too. It definitely seems easier to go through the most difficult parts of our lives on a sort of emotional autopilot.
But here’s the thing: You can’t pick which emotions you shut down. It’s an all or nothing process.
When I shut my emotions down out of a response to abuse and other tragedies, the world reduces its colors.
When you shut down your emotions, you lose the color of life.
Tears are a part of that process, and yet, for many people, tears remain a sign of weakness. That is a sad and dangerous misconception.
It’s a misconception flowing from the notion that success is based on personalities And personalities—especially masculine personalities—can fold. In our society, part of the way we define being a strong, stoic man is not having layers. Men are just supposed to be a flat representation of strength. And flat representations of strength have no room for tears.
But tears are evidence of our humanity, and without them, we lose part of who we are. You connect with people through tears that you can’t in any other way.
Tears are a conduit of the spirit. They’re the integration of soul and body, where what’s going on inside is expressed outside. Often, you don’t even need words when you have tears. The presence of the tears themselves becomes a way to communicate without trying to form it into language. They’re just there. They’re beautiful. The older and more tender I get, the more present they are. When I cry or feel those emotions, I know it’s evidence of brokenness.
And more importantly, it’s evidence of healing.
Have you ever been through something where you tried to shut down emotionally?
Were you raised believing tears were weak? If so, how have you grown in your understanding of them?