Shed a Tear

cryingAm I the only one in America who didn’t cry during yesterday’s coverage of the inauguration? It’s not that it wasn’t incredibly moving. It was. It’s not that it wasn’t a grand historic moment for our country. It was. I just didn’t cry. And I somehow feel guilty because everyone I speak with — male and female — admits to shedding a tear.

Before you condemn me as an unfeeling, unamerican robot, let’s look at this. It’s not that I never cry. I’m not the John Wayne of the priesthood. Sure, I look and act a lot like him with my gunslinging manner and heroic ways. But I guess I reserve my tears for special, more personal occasions. I certainly cried when my father died 17 years ago. But not when Old Yeller did likewise. And I nearlycried when the Ravens lost to the Steelers on Sunday.

Everyone knows the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Weeping, crying, bawling, whatever you want to call it is a wonderfully expressive human emotion. It’s therapeutic and cleansing; there are tears of bitter grief and tears of abounding joy.

Some just let the tears flow easier than others. Like when watching an ad featuring the Budweiser clydesdales. Or any movie with Owen Wilson.

Obama’s speech was inspiring. It was soaring rhetoric that touched the nation. Combined with the celebration of Martin Luther King the day before, it was a moment that many who fought the Civil Rights battle never thought they would see. We haven’t entirely “overcome” but we have made great strides.

But part of me still sees the speechwriters behind the rhetoric. It may be because I ran political campaigns for four years before going to seminary. I’ve witnessed and participated in what happens behind the scenes. Which has forever jaded me to the process. So I loved what Obama said but I’m also ready to move beyond the rhetoric to the reality of the task at hand.

Who knows? Maybe the enormity of it will all hit me later in the week or in the next few months. If I start crying uncontrollably you’ll know why.


5 Comments on “Shed a Tear”

  1. I’m guessing President Obama doesn’t and doesn’t have to rely on speech writers as much as previous presidents.

    I cried because I was flooded with memories that include knowing people beaten to death during the Civil Rights marches, red lining, being in lock down the summer of the Pittsburgh race riots, being called a “N” lover, and that’s just the race-related stuff.

    I also cried because I never thought I’d live long enough to see a woman on the Supreme Court, let alone a Black man become President.

    There’s more, of course. Maybe the crying thing is more connected to age cohort than anything else?

  2. Father Tim says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Meredith. I know you’re not alone — it was an amazing day. And after Dr. Lowerey I never, ever want to give another benediction as long as I live.

    My lack of tears is partly age, as you suggest, and mostly personality.

    And, yes, it is a beautiful thing to have an articulate president!

  3. Megan Ward says:

    I think I heard he was responsible for writing that speech himself too… I definitely shed a tear while watching the inauguration…

  4. Father Tim says:

    Megan, I always knew you were a softie. Like father, like daughter.

  5. Megan Ward says:

    You know me too well Tim, Im definitely a wilting violet…


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