I was listening to the BBC this morning, as I do every morning, when a segment came on detailing the experiences of Holocaust survivors in Yugoslavia. A woman began to speak about the atrocities that occurred. About how people were rounded up from their homes, herded into carts, and taken to be exterminated. She spoke about music blaring so that people who were arriving could not hear the sounds of the firing squads that they were going to face. About how the woman and her grandmother watched as a row of people was forced in front of picks and then shot. Annihilated. About how people passed out from what they saw and because they knew that they were next. And I began to weep.
I wept for the pain of the woman, who was describing these atrocities so matter-of-factly, even though I’m sure the memories of what she saw haunt her still. I wept for the pain of the people being rounded up to be butchered. Their fear, their confusion… the unfairness of the matter. I wept for the souls of the men that did the killing – they were children once, innocent and free. I wept for the circumstances that created a society where we are so disconnected from each other that this actually did and still does go on. I wept for Mother Earth. I wept for the Universe. I wept for the pain around us. Then I wept for myself. I wept and wept until my weeping subsided and I felt a sense of release.
There was a time in my life, up until less than a year, maybe two, ago (I’m not very good with time) that I thought crying was a sign of weakness. My auto-pilot response when I feel threatened is still to emotionally shut down and be stoic, but I’m working on that. There’s beauty in tears. There’s a lot to be said for the ability to experience the full range of emotions and to let yourself be vulnerable and cry. To love yourself enough to sit in the emotions that you feel and to know that it’s ok. Everything is ok and it will be ok. We’re all just human and doing the best we can, given the circumstances we’ve had to face. All we can do is love… and that includes ourselves and all of our emotions.
Photo courtesy of Artistry of Living