A NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: Hi. This is Rabbi Brian in 2019. August. The article below was written in 2014. It's wonderful. But, not how I'm thinking today. The difference is... THE 6th LOVE LANGUAGE There is another love language -- fidelity, faithfulness, doing the...read more
MORE Thoughts about forgiveness Last week, I sent an article about forgiveness–imploring you to forgive people for their transgressions. This week, I wanted to follow-up and share responses with you. Bob S. During my 51-year career, I was often asked, “Bob, how do you...read more
Podcast:Rabbi Brian teaches how the letters O.F.N.R. can help to slow us down and help us in our day to day interactions.Video version:read more
Making Mistakes “What does it feel like when you make a mistake?” It’s a question that Kathryn Schulz asks people. She’s an expert in mistakes. I imagine many of us are experts in making mistakes. She is an expert is what mistakes are....read more
Crying with love:
the third time I finally cried
The first time
I had been having a very rough time and was telling the checkout woman at Trader Joe’s about it. I found myself filled with emotions. She had asked me, as checkers do, how I was doing.
I asked, “Do you want the truth?”
Meo looked me in the eye as she was scanning the frozen meat balls and said lovingly, “I scan food all day…I’ll take some truth.” I confessed to her, a stranger to me at this point, about Jane’s virus and how the family system had been shattered, how I was a mess, how I didn’t know how much longer I could take it, how it felt like a nightmare, but I was getting through it.
Unbeknownst to me while I was sharing, Meo had caught the eye of a co-worker who brought over a bouquet of flowers. She handed them to me and she said “These are from all of us at Trader Joe’s with hopes that your life gets a little easier.” I almost burst out crying at that moment. Instead I just squeaked out in a small voice, “I have to go right now.” And I left.
While putting the groceries into the trailer behind my bike, I wondered, why didn’t I just cry? It would have been so beautiful. I pondered the societal pressure that people, especially men, shouldn’t cry in public.
The second time
About two weeks later, I was sitting on an airplane in a middle seat, between two women and watching the movie Hidden Figures on a small screen in front of me. It’s a beautiful movie. I was so touched that I felt myself about to weep, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let myself do it.
Again, I thought, this is strange. I wanted to cry but didn’t.
The third time
Two weeks after that, a Sunday on which we didn’t have plans, Emmett asked me in the morning to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and I agreed to take him. To be honest, I didn’t really want to go see it. But, when I told him I would take him to the 9:35 show, he lit up. He was so excited and asked, “Can I invite Ben?” “Of course you can invite Ben.” “Oh, Sam wants to see it, too.”
The four of us drove to The Clackamas Town Center. They were being boys. I wasn’t involved in their conversation. I was driving and realized that my son is growing up. He is finishing fourth grade, and I am now the driver. He doesn’t really need me to see the movie. He needs me to drive him. I’m the driver.
I asked the kid selling tickets if it was ok for me to not go in and instead sit in the lobby. The three kids ran in.
I sat there in the lobby of the theater. I started not to cry, but to weep.
I am not needed. My son is getting older. Life is happening so fast.
I wept and wept honestly.
I don’t know what it looked like to anyone passing by. Maybe they thought I got really bad news. Maybe they thought something else. I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone even really paid attention to me, 47 years old, weeping in the lobby.
I wondered, as I sat there, if there was a time when my own father sat outside of something weeping for the same reason: realizing that his son was growing up. Of course, if that had happened at the time, I would never have noticed because I was a boy and I had just run ahead.
We are human beings. We are filled with emotion. It is our birthright; it is part of who we are to have a full experience of this life and to cry in public when we need.