I wrote an article recently for my Multiple Sclerosis Caregiver blog. It's titled "Tears of Hope and Passionate Hate". In it, I used words I find myself using more frequently as I grow older. The phrase is, "tears behind my eyes".
I've used the phrase recently to describe a day to my Mom, "It has been one of those 'tears behind my eyes' days." I used it at work in a conversation with a colleague. "You're having a 'tears behind your eyes' day, aren't you?", I asked.
As I think about it this evening, I realize I'm not talking about a bad thing. I'm not describing depression or even dysthymia. I use the phrase to describe a lot of things: a simple physiological response to persistent, low-grade grief; as a response to too much stress; and as a consequence of potential hope - not yet hope, just the potential for it. Having "tears behind my eyes" is not a negative. It is healthy.
How often do you experience a moment when your emotions are scratched by the reality of your daily routine? The scratch isn't enough for pain. Not enough for an emotional breakdown. But enough that you know you feel something deep. It's a good thing. In fact, the article I wrote describes tears of hope. I want my wife healed!
The next time you find tears behind your eyes, don't deny them. Let them give you pause. What put them there? Sadness or hope? Stress or relief? Joy? Should you turn them loose or hold them behind your eyes? You'll answer that for yourself. What you need to remember is that they're yours and they're a gift to remind you of how emotionally real life can be.
Here's what I think. We benefit when we learn to appreciate the tears behind our eyes. They are there for good purpose.