High River United Church of High River, Alberta
     

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03
Aug

I Cried in Seat 13E

Posted by on in Ministers’ Reflections
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I’m comfortably settled in seat 13E for the 5 ½ hour flight home from Halifax.  I scan through the selections of onboard entertainment and select a film called “Lion”.  After a light-hearted chat with the young landscape design guy on my right who has somehow managed to fold his lanky 6’ plus frame into the window seat, he puts his hat over his face to catch some shut-eye after a long and shall we say… arduous Cape Breton family reunion.  Susan, seated on my left is well into her book.  I pop my ear buds in and press “play”. 

 

The story recounts the life of a little rural boy in India who becomes desperately lost. He manages to swerve through turmoil and danger.  He is eventually adopted by a loving family in Tasmania.  I’m guessing Saroo is about five or six years old. Later, in young adulthood, Saroo begins the search for his lost mother and brother.  I find myself utterly choked with tears as I sob away in 13E.  No one around me seems to notice.  The flight attendant passes by with his re-stocked cart of refreshments. I ask for a glass of water as I wipe the tears from my cheeks.

 

I haven’t cried like that for a long time.  Mostly, that’s because tears don’t come all that easily for me unless, I feel exceptionally safe or happen to be watching an emotionally evocative movie on an airplane… apparently.

 

Emotions are uncomfortable territory for most North Americans.  We generally don’t like them.  We try to avoid them, ignore them, push them away or, drive them deep down inside of us somewhere.  Often, we apologize for being emotional.  At funerals, I sometimes see grieving family members wearing sunglasses as an attempt to cover up their tears.  I grew up being taught that “big boys don’t cry”.

 

I’ve been wondering about emotions for some time.  And while I still experience relative degrees of discomfort with them, I’ve become much more accepting of them.  Why?  Well, it’s because I’m learning that emotions are part of being human.  Humans have emotions.  We laugh. We have frustration and anger. We cry.  It’s quite simple really.  The more we can come alongside our humanity, the more room we can create for taking up a natural and necessary relationship with our emotions. 

 

In my weeping and in that moment tucked away in seat 13E, I have to say that I felt very connected with my human nature.  It felt really good to cry.  It felt good to experience my heart and to be touched by a true story about human separation, loss, and love.  And of course, it evoked my own emotions around the separations, losses and love in my life’s story.  I deem this to be very good.  It’s what I needed. Fact is, we all need a good cry.  It’s important for us to take up a relationship with our emotions and allow them to “move us”. 

 

At the death of his dear friend Lazarus, Jesus wept. In his culture that would be perfectly acceptable.  We’re not quite there in North America evidenced by a general discomfort with emotions.  However, it seems to me that part of being a person of faith is about learning how to be more fully human.  That has recently led me to come home to my tears in seat 13E. 

 

Now, back on the ground. I feel more human.  I feel a deeper awareness about what it means to be lovingly created in the image and likeness of God, emotions and all.

 

 

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