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What Makes Us Cry?

Crying?!  Crying!!  There's no crying in baseball!!

No, I didn't just watch "A League of Their Own".  But for the umpteenth million time, I did watch "Field of Dreams".  All of it.  While the camera shot pans away from the father and son having catch on the baseball field in the middle of a Iowa cornfield to show an endless procession of cars pulling in, the tears continued to flow down my cheeks.  Geesh, what a sap I am!  This movie gets me every time.  Every time!

During the credits, I wiped my face dry and began to wonder, "What makes us cry"? 

Courtesy of Wikipedia, "there are three very basic types of tears:

  1. Basal tears: In healthy mammalian eyes, the cornea is continually kept wet and nourished by basal tears. They lubricate the eye and help to keep it clear of dust. Tear fluid contains water, mucin, lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, lacritin, immunoglobulins, glucose, urea, sodium, and potassium. Some of the substances in lacrimal fluid fight against bacterial infection as a part of the immune system.
  2. Reflex tears: The second type of tears results from irritation of the eye by foreign particles, or from the presence of irritant substances such as onion vapors, tear gas or pepper spray in the eye's environment. These reflex tears attempt to wash out irritants that may have come into contact with the eye.
  3. Crying or weeping (psychic tears): The third category, generally referred to as crying or weeping, is increased lacrimation due to strong emotional stress, depression or physical pain. This practice is not restricted to negative emotions; many people have been known to cry when extremely happy or when they are laughing. In humans, emotional tears can be accompanied by reddening of the face and sobbing — cough-like, convulsive breathing, sometimes involving spasms of the whole upper body. Tears brought about by emotions have a different chemical make up than those for lubrication. The limbic system is involved in production of basic emotional drives, such as anger, fear, etc. The limbic system also has a degree of control over the autonomic system. This is more specifically the hypothalamus. It is the parasympathetic system that controls the lacrimal glands. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter specific to both the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. It is when the receptors are activated that the lacrimal gland is stimulated to produce tears."

Okay then.  Considering my own life, I pretty much know that the largest volume of tears I have shed relate to category #3: psychic tears.  Chrissie has long since seen me cry like Demi Moore in "Ghost" (another movie that gets me every time).  Tears that gently roll out of the corners of my eyes onto my cheeks and slowly down my face.  I can still see for the most part, and I can still speak.  But if that happens while I'm singing, all bets are off.  I just stop and cry.  Like this past Sunday.  It was the last weekend for Mother Anne at Grace Church.  In the loft during the service, our music director/organist decided we should sing a second hymn during Communion before we offered our anthem.  This hymn, by itself, can bring forth tears.  It, on top of watching Anne+ administer the eucharistic bread for the last time at our high altar as our priest, sent me over and I could not sing.  There were no regrets.  Just Thanksgiving.  For her and her ministry with us the last four years.  But also for my own family and friends, especially Chrissie.  For Grace Church and their ministry to me these past 27 years.  And for God, for His never-ending love each and every day.   

I am blessed.  God has been very, very good to me.  And Yes, just writing this brings a tear to my eye.  Pass the tissues.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
"watching Anne administer the eucharistic bread for the last time"...umm, could you rephrase that to something like "for the last time at our high altar as our priest" or whatever?? I'd hate to think that was the last time....that'll make me cry even more! Keep those tissues handy.

I love you. me

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )