I have started crying a lot recently. Think needing to drink twice as much water as usual, eyes never quite stop being red, absolute water works type of a lot. Two days ago, I cried because my younger sister posted on instagram, and she looked really pretty. Then I came across a company that exists for the express purpose of flying medical supplies into remote regions, and I realized I was crying again. Half an hour later, I was proof-watching my own video (that I had already watched at least twelve times this week) about Kesem1, and before I knew it, tears were pouring down my face. The next morning, I cried after leaving my sports practice because I was just so happy to be back in an athletic environment with such strong women. A couple of hours later, I was reading about a company devoted to connecting remote communities to the internet through completely blurry, teary eyes. Tonight while watching a Harvard production of In The Heights, I cried no less than four times considering the concept of home, generational socioeconomic mobility, and my briefly forgotten love of theater. That was only the past 72 hours. I have cried more this week than I did in all of 2021. And I am more emotionally healthy than I have ever been.
I have never before cried over a video I literally made myself, over a musical of any sort, or certainly over a random engineering company. In subconscious fear of being perceived as too dramatic or intense, I tried to avoid tears. I felt that my family or friends might be burdened by my feelings and that my church demanded I always appear perfect and happy. This approach was actually wildly counterproductive and resulted in me having full sobbing breakdowns in my room every time the period of suppressed emotion got a little bit too long. Nevertheless, I did what I thought the world and the Church expected of me, and I did my best not to cry. But I was forgetting a very important thing about the very God the Church was modeled after.
Jesus wept2. Every scripture memory team’s favorite verse, the shortest verse in the entire Bible, a mere two words. Yet these two words carry indescribable weight and reveal so much about the character of the Lord.
Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, had been pronounced dead four days3 prior to Jesus’ arrival at his tomb, where a crowd of family, friends, and interested onlookers mourned the death. As he was greeted by a crying Mary, Lazarus’ sister, the Lord asked to see where His friend had been laid. And then He wept. He wept not because He was weak, or was admitting defeat, or was without hope. He wept because He had just taken in a scene of great emotion, a scene of tragedy and heartache. But He did not stop at crying, and through His tears, He approached the tomb and called out “Lazarus, come forth”.4 He knew all along that He would call Lazarus back to this life, that Lazarus would be back with them in only moments, and that God was in control, yet He still chose, in His perfect wisdom, to allow himself to cry.
I have not been crying a lot recently because I am weak, or am admitting defeat, or am without hope. I am crying because I am taking in scenes of great emotion, of tragedy and heartache, of exuberance and passion. This life has plenty of such scenes to offer if you pay attention. Greatly emotional, and sometimes even just slightly emotional, experiences warrant an emotional response, and I am now happy to respond with one. I will cry angry tears witnessing injustice. I will cry happy tears reading about organizations that fight it. I will cry proud tears hearing of others’ success. I will cry at my friends’ pain, their happiness, their accomplishments. I will cry for those closest to me, for those I have never known, even for myself.
Crying, however, is not the end of the line. Just as Jesus cried in emotional expression on His way to address the situation, I, too, will love through my tears. Of course, there is not the same guarantee for me that all of my endeavors will be successful, but the same passion that fuels my tears should fuel a fight against inequity, a drive to show appreciation of those I love, a dedication to creating space for others’ vulnerability. I know I will do my best to fight the wrongs of this world, that I will be back with Christ in no time, and that God is still in control, yet I will choose, as Christ did, to allow myself to cry.
Jesus wept. So I have started crying a lot recently.
Emma Kate Price is a sophomore in Leverett House studying Mechanical Engineering and Astrophysics