Why I Weep



The cruelty, sadness, ignorance, ugliness and pain of the world get to me sometimes.

Years ago, when I was a single mom, working for a national bookstore chain and struggling to figure myself out, I would arrive home at the end of a day and simply lie down on the floor. And weep. Tears would flow unrestrained, rinsing my skin in my own grief. This was how I coped with the strain of life.

It wasn’t just the strain of working full time, raising a daughter as a divorced mom and clearing the debris of an earlier life of struggle. I grieved for the world. I grieved because I could see, feel and experience the pain I witnessed around me.

One of the strategies I employed then was to pull myself up by my bootstraps, take a breath, chin up and face the fray with renewed optimism. This only ever worked for a short time. Until the next day’s prone weeping session, in fact.

One night I had a dream that there were disembodied heads perched all along the fence of the tiny patio of my almost as tiny 1 bedroom rental. In this dream, I am standing out on the patio under the wide night sky, weeping for the world’s sorrows. One of the heads, a very white Jesus-looking head, tells me that they are the Nineteen Weeping Heads of Christ. Each one is a different race or nationality and each one has streams of warm, salty tears flowing down their cheeks. They weep, he says, so I don’t have to.

This helped me stop weeping, for a while.

Twenty-some years later, I don’t weep every day. I’ve learned some powerful life hacks that make bootstrapping and chin-upping mostly unnecessary. I enter each day with an understanding of my true nature and my vision for who I am to be in this world.

I also still see, with eyes wide open, the suffering, pain and grief all around me. Some days, it’s harder than others to remember who we are and why we are here. Those are the days I feel like lying down on the floor and weeping all over again. I don’t.

Those are the moments when I understand that connecting to the truth of who I am, who we are, is the only bootstrap that’s real. This saves me from the false heroic self. It reminds me to witness, yes, and to speak or act when I can, to ease the inequities of this out-of-kilter society we’ve been born into. And to grieve.