Let it Flow, Let it Flow, Let it Flow
The pastor motioned for the crowd to stand to their feet as the organ music swelled. The stunning bride made her way down the aisle. As I stood to my feet in my hidden perch in the back of the sanctuary, tears began to stream down my face. It was then that I realized that I truly had a problem, and an embarrassing one. It wasn’t so unusual to be crying during a wedding, as people do that all the time. It was, however, unusual for that situation in that I didn’t know a soul in the room with the exception of my husband; the singer. I had simply come to the wedding to wait for him to take me out to dinner afterward. I didn’t know the bride, had never met the groom nor anyone in the wedding party, yet there I stood with swollen eyes and the sniffles.
Just about anything can cause me to tear up. The singing of our National Anthem, a well-orchestrated symphony, or even a Hallmark commercial can cause me to get choked up. One time recently our pastor began to give a sermon illustration toward the end of the service. It happened to be a story that I had already heard, so simply hearing the opening line started the flow of tears. By the time he made his final point I was “ugly crying” and grabbing for the tissues.
In the field that I work in, there are often things that happen during a typical day that can cause me to get a bit teary eyed as well. When a child is able to say a particular sound for the first time after we have worked on it seemingly forever, I sometimes get misty eyed. Likewise when a child who stutters says a sentence fluently and I realize that they are suddenly using a strategy that we have worked on, I can start the waterworks. Children are usually fairly uncomfortable when an adult cries, even if it’s just a tear or two, so I do my best to control my emotions when they are in the room. But sometimes it just spills out.
My boys are usually pretty sympathetic with my plight; I have explained to them more than once how embarrassing it can be to cry in many situations. Nevertheless, they’ve been known to have a little bit of fun with it. Many years ago, there was a show on T.V. called, “Rescue 911.” It was based on true stories of emergency situations, all of which had happy endings. My boys would turn around and stare at me as I watched from the couch, giggling when I started to cry. It happened every episode. “There she goes!” We would all end up laughing out loud as I attempted to keep my composure. As soon as the bottom lip would start to quiver I knew I was toast.
It should be noted that I don’t just cry about sad things; I cry when things are funny. That uncontrollable laughter where tears are streaming down your face and you can barely catch a breath. I tend to see things in a funny way, sometimes at the most inappropriate times. One of the most memorable was when my sister and I were singing a duet. One of us hit a wrong note and the other one got tickled. That was all it took; by the end of the song our knees were practically buckled with laughter. The only problem was that it wasn’t funny to anyone but us. Awkward.
I read a really interesting article in the Wall Street Journal recently about people like myself.* It cites “Highly Sensitive Persons,” or HSP’s. Apparently 20% of the population falls into this category. It goes on to say that being so sensitive isn’t really a disorder or condition, but is simply a permanent trait that likely has a genetic cause. There is some comfort in knowing that other people tend to be easily moved to tears, as I do. In fact, I could name names. (insert smile). Tonight, as I came to end of my lengthy, tender conversation with my Dad we sat knee to knee for a few moments in silence. When I looked up I realized that we both had tears streaming down our faces. I think I know whose genetics are responsible.
Bernstein, Elizabeth. “Do You Cry Easily? You May Be a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’.” Wall Street Journal [New York] 18 May 2015