Monday, December 15, 2008

Tears for Fears

I come from a long line of weepers. My family's weeping is notoriously bad. I think it's family legend that claims it was the Christenson's tears that started the river Vida in Denmark. My mom is as bad as the Christenson's, but she didn't get that from her mom, so I think the influence of my dad's family must have rubbed off on her.

My Aunt Norma probably single-handedly held the weeping award for 45 years straight. She was the primary song leader the entire time I was growing up, and I think the only song she made it through without crying was "Once there was a Snowman."

But I'm afraid I might be the reigning queen. It's pathetic how weepy I am. It started getting really bad after I left for college and found myself the loneliest I had ever been in my life. That first summer away from home, my mom's family held a family reunion, and to end the festivities, they called on me to give the closing prayer. Surrounded by cousins, siblings, parents: I couldn't take it. I barely choked out the prayer through my tears. I don't think a single person understood a word I said. They haven't called on me since.

Yesterday I was asked to give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting. The entire time leading up to the prayer, I tried thinking awful, terrible thoughts to push back the tears. I tried not to think of the Christmas carol we were singing. I tried not to think of the purpose of church, of partaking the sacrament. I gave a silent prayer to ask Heavenly Father to help me through this prayer.

The time arrived for me to pray. As I started to pray, those same overwhelming feelings I've felt so many times rose up in my throat. A huge feeling of gratitude and awe mixed in with nervousness and fear. I think I got out about five years before the crying started. I tried to turn my prayer to the mundane to help calm my heart: "Please bless the speakers; bless the bishop and his counselors." But then I blew it by thinking about those in the congregation who may have come to church with a purpose: to feel some kind of love and care from Heavenly Father. I thought of those who were lonely this time of year, or who were struggling with an overwhelming house payment and no income to pay it with.

It was all too much. I ended the prayer as quickly as I could. As I sat down, my huband gave me the look that bespeaks sweetness and mockingness, kind of the way we look at old people with Alzheimer's when they say something totally inappropriate. He lovingly whispered to me, "What is wrong with you?" I laughed and wiped away my tears, even though they kept falling for a good half hour into the meeting. What is wrong with me is right. It's enough, woman. Could someone get me a boat? There's no signs of this flood letting up.


Shannon said...

Hopefully you will live a long and fruitful life with all the cathartic release. Being a woman is not an easy thing.

mariann and Tory said...

It is hard to be a weeper! I cry at stupid things and I am not a gracious crier. I am a major boober! I sob, my face goes all sorts of blotchy, my nose runs, I make weird noises! Its not pretty!

Amo said...

Cindster -- I am always grateful for your tender heart. Without it, our family callousness would know no bounds. You are a true Idaho gem!