His story lingers in my mind, his tears the dessert to our meal that had just ended. His words echo. His story is strong…his tears are stronger—they are for joy, not sadness. His tears are for the past, the future, and the present. And just a week ago he was a stranger to me, to all of us here in Italy. Just a week ago, I would have never known him, or this story, the one of the love he had for his grandfather, the one of the last record he played by his grandfather’s bedside, the one of strength and what it truly means.
Strength in tears.
As I sat and watched my new friend shed tears about the past, over a final glass of wine with six of us sitting at the table, I thought to myself, how strong of a person to let the tears just roll out, to just let us all the way in, to let us learn a bit more about him and his past—to let us know him.
I often cry, but most times the tears are hidden in embarrassment, because they tend to be tears for nothing, sadness, or emptiness. But I realized recently how much I actually enjoy crying, letting it all just flow out, letting the droplets just drip down my cheek.
My friend Hannah has pointed out the importance of gaping wallows in the past, and it is in this moment, at dinner, that I see the gaping wallow in progress. Though his stream of tears doesn’t fill the restaurant like a bathtub, it does offer a release, an escape. It is in these moments that I realize the importance of our tears and the importance of sharing those tears with or without stories. It is in this moment I realize the importance of letting people in—the importance of letting ourselves out.