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  • Writer's picturedavidauten

Live to the Point of Tears

Tears are revelation. Secret happenings within our inner landscape, once cloaked from external eyes, become clear to another in a moment, in a drop. Life is difficult. It does not matter how high or low your station in life: you will be brought to tears. Albert Camus would tell himself privately to live to the point of tears. As glistening indicators of what is happening in the heart, tears disclose a simple yet sublime truth of the human condition, namely, we are vulnerable. We bleed. We scar. We worry. We fear. We are exposed to the elements. Vulnerability is less a disposition we choose in our interactions with the world, and more an inalienable aspect of our being, one that cannot be discarded, no matter how hard we might try. That which is in us, apart from our devising, often has intuitive wisdom, a reason for being there tried and true through the aeons of time, and trusting in the truth of our inherent vulnerability means providing space for tears, knowing they have earned their place, an understanding that to traverse the earth is to be touched by tenderness and violence, even at times broken open by beauty in ways that surprise ourselves as much as others.

The inability to cry, or remember the last time we did, is a diagnostic of a life out of touch. Both touching and being in touch with what is most precious means risking everything, our whole selves, not only those parts we would choose. To hold the hand of another, to embrace our foibles and failures, to kiss the new day with all its promise and uncertainty, makes room for the release of emotions yearning for physical expression. Henry Maudsley got it right when he said sorrow that finds no vent in tears will soon make other organs weep. We avoid grief only at our own peril.

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