The Language of Tears

Last night we watched, “Land Before Time” with my sweet seven and a half year old, Cate.  While at Target picking up a birthday gift, we saw the movie on sale for $5 and bought it immediately. It is a favorite childhood movie of mine that reminds me of collecting the hand puppets from Pizza Hut of the characters and quoted the lines of the adorable rag tag dinosaurs who ended up unlikely friends.  “Yep, yep, yep!” I couldn’t wait for Cate to see it.
Normally, Cate spends part of her evening watching her iPad or playing games on my phone but tonight I convinced her to watch the movie with us, and as she snuggled in my lap I was excited to spend quality time with her.  Like many movies of its kind, there is always an event that propels the protagonist to an early self-actualization, generally in the form of the mother being killed off in some horrible fashion. In my excitement to watch it, I nearly forgot that part of the story.  So… as the harrowing battle between sharp tooth and Little Foot’s mother unfolded, Cate grabbed me tightly and her eyes were wide with fear.  Then something incredible happened…  As the mother lay dying on the rocks sacrificing herself to save her young son saying her good-bye’s and comforting him as she knew she was going to die, Cate began to openly weep.
It got me thinking…


Tears are the language of the soul.  The expression of something do deeply felt we can only weep at the thought. How often do we actually look at one another and feel something so completely soul crushingly strong that we are reminded of the fragility of humanity or see something so beautiful it renders us speechless? It seems so rare these days… especially for our children being raised in the information dynasty where communication is choreographed 160 characters at a time.
As human beings, we are becoming conditioned to retract when things become unbearable and even just mildly uncomfortable these days.  We don’t want to face the things that are hard.  But you can’t have the good without the bad.  The bad is what makes the good so good. You can’t have one without the other.  You can’t have the love without the loss, or the light without the darkness that overtakes it each night – the burnt ends of a sunrise holding on as long as it can before relinquishing the color to the night… it is why we love to see the sunrise, when the light returns to our eyes.   Things are only beautiful because they are not permanent.  You can’t appreciate your life without knowing that one day it will end.  You can’t love deeply without the knowledge that it won’t always be there so it must be treasured.

In a scene that lasted less than two minutes, Cate experienced something deeply stirring that made her own life seem more precious.  The lesson was a brutal one – administered with a sharp, sad, sting. That night, she clung more tightly to me her small hands holding my hands and her head nuzzled into my neck.  She craved being close after being exposed to her own precious and fragile humanity… a humanity that can sometimes only be recognized through tears.

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