“It’s okay to be emotional.”
These were words spoken to me last week.
I was having a moment when I was trying really hard to keep the tears at bay. I’m not a crier. I don’t cry often, at least not in front of others outside my home. But there they were… those silly, salty water droplets ignoring my demands to stay put or go back into the recesses of my eyes where they belong.
I hate crying. It’s messy. Your nose runs. Your eyes get red. It’s noticeable. It calls others to you to say “what’s wrong?” or “how can I help?” which only makes the tears more stubborn about their desire to leave your eyes when you least want them too. It makes me feel weak.
But despite my best efforts to keep them in, still sometimes they fall beyond my control.
So I needed the permission those words gave me in that moment.
And maybe you do too. So, let me repeat them now for you: “It’s okay to be emotional.”
Right now I’m in the midst of week 3 of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. It’s the week where the retreatant is called to get emotional with Christ through the hardest moments of His life.
Honestly, as I go, I find myself conflicted. I mean my worst moment is nothing compared to His. My tears last week seem silly when I sit with His agony in the Garden.
And yet still those pesky tears came because the emotions were real and so much a part of my story in that moment.
So why do I discount them?
As I continue this journey of the Spiritual Exercises, I’m learning that walking through Jesus’ worst moments alongside of Him isn’t about me feeling guilty for my own story or my own emotions attached to it.
Instead, it’s becoming an opportunity for me to, as Brene Brown wrote, learn that I can be “tough and tender, brave and afraid, strong and struggling” all at the same time.
After all, Jesus was all these things too.
Tough and tender.
Brave and afraid.
Strong and struggling.
All that it is to be… human.