The Gift Of Tears

“Tears are the safety valve of the heart 

when too much pressure is laid on it.”  

The Gift of Tears

I have always been a big believer that in life you will always have good things going on while simultaneously, there will be bad.  Though My Sunshine Room is devoted to bringing sunshine into people’s lives, it has never been with a “pie in the sky” mentality that life does not have “dark skies.”  It’s as if we are called to live with a split personality, moving in and out of our joys and sorrows harmoniously.

It is with that idea that I write this post sharing the idea of “The Gift of Tears.”  You see yesterday was one of those days that I had to cry.  I went for the final walk to be had for a long time with one of my best friends.  She has been my next door neighbor for almost 23 years and from the day I moved in, she has been one of my dearest friends.  Next week she will be moving out of town, and as I hugged her goodbye and walked down the driveway back to my house, I could not help but to shed a lot of tears.  

It was cathartic.  And that is “The Gift of Tears.” 

Pope Francis, at the Lenten Mass this year, said, "We will do well to ask, at the beginning of this Lent, for the gift of tears, so as to make our prayer and our journey of conversion ever more authentic and without hypocrisy."

God has given us this gift of tears for physical, emotional, and communal reasons.


A study done by Dr. William Frey in Minneapolis, showed that the makeup of tears is different between those that are of an environmental constitution (like peeling an onion) vs.  emotional.  What he learned is that environmental tears are 98% water, while emotional tears actually contain toxins, stress hormones and other harmful chemicals, that cause damage to the body.  Through the gift of tears are bodies are actually helped by releasing these harmful toxins rather than having them recycled into our systems.


Tears are also a way of cleansing our emotions.  They help to purge our minds of sadness, grief, anxiety, aggression and more.  What scientists have learned is that crying can actually stimulate endorphins, which are our bodies natural pain killers and feel good hormones.  I recently told someone, after another good cry I had about a month ago, I felt as if my shoulders had dropped about 2 inches from the heaviness that had built up in my body.   That is the gift of tears!


Finally, have you ever noticed when someone has tears how much more receptive others are to listen?  Tears are often hard to express, they cause us to open up and be vulnerable.  Yet, being vulnerable is one of the best ways to grow closer to another person.  Though painful to share our own feelings, as well as difficult to know how to act when others are crying, it is through these times that intimate sharing and caring can establish greater community.  I think that is the message that Pope Francis was trying to relay in his Lenten message:  the beauty of being vulnerable. 

As a Jewish Proverb says, What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.  Tears are a gift of grace from God, they signify an open and softened heart.  They are not a sign of weakness, but of power, revealing grief, contrition, and most importantly love.  

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A photo after our last walk - maybe not the best shot of us, but a keeper nonetheless.  When I got home, saturated in tears, I had to grab my camera, go back over to Paige’s and have a final photo to remember the gift of all the joys and tears we have shared!

Thank You God for The Gift of Joy, as well as the Gift of Tears!

© margaret young