About two weeks ago, while riding alone in my car, I received marvelous news on my Bluetooth. It was about the birth of my sixth grandchild! I ended up pulling over to the side of the road due to an overwhelming sense of gratitude and delight. My heart filled with happiness and my eyes filled with tears—I cried tears of joy! My tears were partly due to the comforting thought that my son and daughter-in-law were moving forward in their life purpose by having a fourth child and partly due to missing them terribly because they live in Australia.
It is an emotional release due to the mixture of optimistic and challenging events in our lives. For me it usually includes a sense of relief after a long laborious journey.
Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church once said that he use the metaphor of mountains and valleys to represent the ups and downs of life experiences. Now he feels life is more like two railroad tracks, one representing the positive circumstances of our lives while the other rail represents the sad things that simultaneously occur.
Often, there are times when we experience great joy due to achievements right along with receiving the bad news about a death in the family, disappointment in a loved one or injustice in our world. About 3 years ago, after being newly married to my second husband and living in a season of splendor, he began experiencing abdominal pain. I took him to the hospital where he was admitted for one week while they ran numerous tests on him. During this time, I would step outside of his room where he would not see my tears and pray. When I spoke to him, I tried not to allow him see my fear. But when he recognized my distress, he shed tears of joy that someone would love him as faithfully I did. Imagine my tears of joy when the doctors could not find any disease or sickness.
I will never forget how my grandmother would celebrate the anniversary date of her divorce by pouring herself one glass of sweet wine. With tears in her eyes, she would raise her glass in the air to toast to being free from her marriage to my grandfather. She was celebrating their lives together, their three children and grandchildren– but she was also celebrating no longer having to live with his temper or abuse. Of course she wanted us to love and respect my grandfather which we did over the years until his death. However, for grandma, she experienced tears of relief and joy when she no longer had to play a role in helping him overcome his anger.
At times, my tears of joy have come when I least expect it: a police officer who did not give me a ticket for a rolling stop at the STOP sign; when my daughter and I renewed our friendship; when one of struggling client’s has worked hard to accomplishes her goal; when I have been stubborn and wrong but was given mercy anyway. Perhaps you can identify times when you shed tears of joy at a baby dedication, graduation, wedding or celebrating the life of a family member who has died. It can be greatly rewarding to journal about these experiences and share them with someone who knows how to weep as well as rejoice with you.
Beth Holloway, MA, LPCA is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and has more than 12 years’ experience in the mental health field. She has recently joined the Miller Counseling Services team and specializes in counseling individuals and couples who have experienced all types of losses including abuse, domestic strife, and trauma. She enjoys leading group therapy classes in the areas of Divorce Recovery, Spiritual Enrichment, Couples and Parent/Child Relationships, Grief Processing and Depression Recovery. Beth has had the privilege of traveling all over the United States and to more than 10 foreign countries and has been enriched by learning about people from diverse cultures and ethnic groups.
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