I never thought I would be this way” he said tears in his eyes watching his little boy walk down the hall alone at preschool.
A milestone had been passed.
As we walked down the steps together I said “it doesn’t get easier”. Remembering the emotion I felt with my daughter’s on their first day of school, the fact that my youngest daughter will graduate this year. The same emotion I felt this morning as my grandson walked away alone.
I recently watched a man I have known for almost thirty years and respect more than almost anyone I know, cry at the death of a friend. And like the dad this morning he apologized for showing emotion.
We are taught it is not manly to express emotion especially if it involves tears. As men we are taught how to hunt, how to fish, how to fight, how to be an athlete, but not taught how to feel. The one emotion we are familiar with is anger and that emotion most often is expressed in the wrong way.
In John 11:35 we see an example of how a man’s man expresses sorrow. “Jesus wept”. In Luke 19:41 we see Jesus weeping over the city that has just welcomed Him as a King, but will soon reject and crucify Him. Sorrow but not anger. In fact the only record of Jesus showing anger is when His Fathers house is misused.
Our emotions are not only given by God but learning to express and control them in the right way is part of our spiritual and emotional growth. And even our tears are important to God. Psalm 56:8 tells us He saves them in a bottle. But the man who would fly into a rage over a car cutting him off in traffic while stoically refusing to show emotion to grief , pain, hardship does not grow emotionally or spiritually.
I believe most of the volatile anger we see in men in our society is the result of denying any emotion we feel shows us to be weak or vulnerable. And when we fail to “let it out” we leave ourselves open to other emotions that damage ourselves and others. Scripture directs us to be angry and sin not- but also to mourn with those who mourn, to show compassion and tenderness, and yes not be afraid to cry.
We will express our emotions in some way the only question is how?