There is more to tears than meets the eye.
I was captured by this subject matter lately. During the annual meeting of members of the foundation last May 16, 2008, former Board Chairman Nards Ote, who is considered as one of the visionary architects of MAFI’s core values of excellence, consistency and transparency, shed tears during his speech. I am sure those were tears of joy, a moment of inner encounter of fulfillment of his visions for the foundation. Seeing him teary-eyed for the second time (the first was during the groundbreaking of MAFI’s Scholars Dormitory wayback in 2000), I cannot help but proclaim again in silence my deepest respect and highest regard to this man who remained truly human despite his many achievements in the highly competitive and fast-paced business of the corporate world.
With 6.5 billion people around the world today, I am quite sure somebody out there is crying right now even before you finish reading this sentence. Imagine the tears flowing as a result of the genocide in Darfur region of western Sudan which left as many as 400,000 dead from violence, disease and drought. The effect of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China’s Sichuan province last May 12, 2008 is another sure case in point of people in tears. The people in Burma surely cried too when cyclone Nargis devastated Rangoon and nearby Irrawaddy river delta on May 2 , 2008.
But not all tears flow from pain, anguish, loneliness and other forms of suffering. There are also tears shed out of the pure joys of the heart. A tear upon hearing the new-born’s first cry is heavenly for the loving mother. The hidden tears of the father who learned unexpectedly the pure goodness of his son are delights that soar into the skies. The tears of winners in competitive events are ecstasy of triumph and fulfillment that lifts the spirit and strengthens one’s faith. The tears of laughter that many of us have experienced are testimonies that after all, life is still beautiful.
From the medical point of view, tears are simply liquid product of a process called lacrimation purposely to lubricate and clean the eyes. Tear fluid contains water, mucin lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, lacritin, immuno globulis, glucose, urea, sodium and potassium. In mammalian eyes the cornea is kept wet and nourised by basal tears. They lubricate the eye and help to keep it clear of dust. Reflex tears result from irritation of the eye by foreign particles. Psychic tears, generally referred to as crying or weeping, is increased lacrimation due to strong emotional stress, suffering, physical pain or extreme happiness.
Crying as an emotional reaction is a special human phenomenon. It gives us a unique sense of awareness, an inner consciousness of ourselves and a connection with other human beings. Tears therefore are not simply product of lacrimation but are precious manifestations of our humanity. The psalmists proclaimed it clearly. “Hear my cry, O God (Psalm 61.2), “Morning, evening and even at noon, I cry (Psalm 55:18). The shortest verse in the bible is also the most profound. John 11:35 says, “And Jesus wept.”
Let your next tears be an offering for humanity’s pain and tenderness. Let it be a transforming celebration of life’s realities. This will surely make you truly human.