i am not into talking that much about the differences between men and women. in fact, i rarely, if ever, do because i just lean on the bottom line, that we are human beings and both essentially need the same things. yes, of course inside we might be wired a little differently emotionally, but i hate the stereotypes and the way writers pigeon hole men and women: “men just want respect, women just need love” “men are from mars and women are from venus” “men want the facts, women want feelings.” “women are criers and men are disconnected.” it just bugs me. and i think it’s so limiting to men and women alike. so i am hesitant to write a post with this title, but for some reason it really struck me this morning and i thought i’d share.
i am in a community where men cry. like really cry. aren’t afraid to feel. they hear a story of grief and pain and they don’t hold back. they can connect with their own story and feel it, really feel it. in the moment they aren’t afraid to let the tears flow or express their sadness and pain.
and here’s what’s bizarre to me: i have been in the church for two decades and i have never experienced this before. what is that? why have i been around christian men and women for twenty years in groups and ministries and all kinds of activities and i can count on a few few hands where men around me cried? sure, in marriage counseling moments, i have experienced many men cry. things can get pretty desperate when a marriage is about to fall apart. or when someone is telling their story once in a while the emotion comes with it. it is so tender and beautiful to me. but that is sort of about them, their own pain. and outside of that, in-the-open-crying-because-i-feel-another’s-pain has been a rarity. and i think we’ve all missed out because the cultures we’ve created don’t nurture or allow for this.
some of you will say “well, i don’t think it’s that big of a deal, i have been around men who cry all the time.” and i will say amen! that is so cool! i just haven’t experienced it like this before in such a consistent and natural way in community.
jose is a crier. he is more emotional than me in certain ways and i have always been thankful for his ability to express himself this way. it has drawn me to him and made him more real, accessible. crying, letting myself go, isn’t the easiest thing for me. i am really good at keeping it together, and that’s not always the best idea. these refuge friends of mine, i highly value their willingness to be real people with real feelings and not put on some kind of cover.
anyway, i just wanted to share out loud how much respect i have for people that don’t hold back. not just men but women too. people who allow themselves to enter into another person’s life and not run from their grief or pain or sadness or loneliness but to meet them there. i somehow think this was always the idea.