Terror. Anger. Despair. Heartache. Sorrow. Shame. Suffering…
As we listened to the breaking news coming out of Boulder, Colorado in the aftermath of the shooting, our hearts, like yours, were filled with more emotions than we could even describe. Ten beautiful, innocent human beings were murdered. Family, friends, and communities are heartbroken, bereft, and in tears.
There are simply no words to do justice to these emotions we are feeling. That is why in times like these, often the only way to express what we are feeling, pay tribute to the dead, and show our sympathy to the bereaved, is to cry.
In one of the interviews after the shooting, one of the police spokespeople got choked up. However, instead of letting her tears flow, she wiped them away, apologized for the tears, and persevered with her statement. Probably many who were watching admired her courage to hold back the tears. Although she, and the other first responders, were indeed courageous, it isn’t because she held back her tears.
In the words of Dr. Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and a man who knew the suffering of atrocity far too well:
“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
There is no shame in tears.
On the contrary, we should only feel ashamed if we create a society that does not make room for the tears when we do not take time to stop and pay tribute through our tears, or if we encourage those who are crying to wipe away those tears. Those tears, as Dr. Frankl reminds us, bear witness to our courage to face those victims, face their families, face our tears and cry in the face of this atrocity. Our tears are in many ways, a call to emotional and spiritual arms, to combat those who were murdered by a man armed with weapons in his hands, hate in his heart, and obviously an inability for tears. Our tears are God’s charge for us to not only cry, but to take those tears and do what needs to be done to right these wrongs, eliminate the elements that allowed for another mass shooting, and eradicate the hate seething in our society, the hate that once again leaves us all suffering.
To the victims, to the survivors, to all of the grieving mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, family and friends we offer our tears.
Do not wipe away your tears. Do not rush back to your dry-eyed, daily grind. Do not stop crying until justice has been delivered, evil has been exterminated, and we have reclaimed an open-hearted and loving America – one where we have the compassion to cry and the courage to suffer our tears.
Resources for Grief and Healing
Creative Kaddish –The Carry The Fire Remembrance Ritual – https://mysoulcentered.org/creativekaddish/
Blogs about healing, grief, trauma and loss – https://mysoulcentered.org/category/grief-inspiration/