Have you ever just broke down in public? It is probably one of the most humiliating experiences in life, except for walking out of the ladies room, across a crowded room to realize your hem is in your waistband….not that it has ever happened to me. The hem thing I mean, because, oh yes the break down in public has been me on more than one occasion.
There is nothing more cathartic than a well-timed breakdown and not much worse than feel hot tears make their way down your face. Your mind is barking orders to your tear ducts, “Stop immediately!” Your tears ducts follow your heart instead and when you try to speak, a sound akin to a seal’s bark comes forth. It is at that moment that everyone looks at you and thinks, “Bless her heart, she just could not hold it together.”
A good friend and counselor of mine once gave me some of the best advice I have ever received. She told me in that split second, when your mind and your heart are battling it out over which will prevail, that moment when your throat begins to ache as a sob threaten to escape, give yourself just a second. When you– for whatever reason, be it, a room full of people, your boss, your spouse, your mother-in-law–must not fall apart, do not depend on sheer will to get you through. Do not try and blink back tears that will not be denied. Do not avoid the God given gift of emotions.
Instead whisper to yourself. “I am going to break down, just not now. When I get home at 5:30 this afternoon, I am going to lay on my bed and sob. I will let the tears come I will hit my pillow with my fists until I have nothing in me. I can have this breakdown, just not now.”
Research shows that when we tell ourselves that it’s OK to delay a breakdown and then proceed to mentally schedule it for a few hours later, our emotions respond. We can sometimes, most times, control that ugly cry for a little while.
Don’t deny yourself the beauty of a good cry for too long however. It has healing powers. The Father counts our tears and bottles them up, reminding us that He wept with a broken heart. Maybe he, fully man, told himself in front of his accusers, “Not never, just not now” and in the garden, he wept. I am thankful for that small speck of a verse in Scripture. Jesus knew, He felt the hot tears and the ache in His divine throat. He knows and feels my hurts and your too.