Tears or iLaugh

Is there a certain number of tears we are allowed in a lifetime? Each person, a different number, a bucket filled with our life’s supply of tears ?Some bigger, some smaller, some filled to the brim, some only half-filled, some nearly empty… I think my bucket has run dry. I have lost the ability to cry.  Not the ability to be sad, mind you, but the ability to produce this subtle moisture called tears. Instead, I have reverted to doing something completely irrational.  My automatic response to pain. I laugh. When I stub my toe or cut myself, I laugh. When my parents fight or yell at me, I laugh. When I am reminded daily of the reasons I am outcast, I laugh. You think, perhaps, that I am stronger or maybe I have learned more about life’s sorrows and joys, but it’s so much less than that. For other people, too, I cannot shed tears, only laugh.  A friend trips and falls or gets made fun of or yelled at and all my body will do to react is laugh. This laughter– some call it “Holy” (but it must be far from that)– has not made me better or stronger or have a brighter outlook on life– it has made me crueler, filled with an evil Schadenfreude, a masochism, a sadism that makes me laugh in the face of other’s pain. Has my life been so filled with sorrow and pain that I cannot feel it anymore? Where has my empathy gone? Many worse off than I can still cry. Maybe I cried at the wrong times in my life, and now have become impervious to it. I don’t think that’s quite it — I’ve never wept for fictitious characters, or even cried at funerals (heartless as that may sound). I’ve shown sympathy, not vulnerability at the misfortune of others. What, then, has so riddled me with this laughter? Why has my bucket run dry? Please refill my bucket, and make me feel once more the pain of others. Please, refill my bucket and replace my cruelty with kindness. Please, refill my bucket and take away my malice. But most of all, I need my bucket refilled, I need a new bucket, because I need to let go. I need to cry and finish my mourning. Without my weeping, my mourning is incomplete.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Tears or iLaugh

  1. Mac A. Bailey

    I hope my words don’t seem unfeeling to you, but I have lost a great deal and lost more, really, than I could have ever imagined. And I want you to know this, there is a season for everything. And yes that is in Ecclesiastes—and whether you believe or not—there is wisdom. There is a season for tears and a season for joy. Not laughter as you are describing, but real joy, deep joy that you can’t see in your future right now. Just wait. Be patient with yourself and others, as Anais Nin said. Be patient with yourself.

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