Posted by: ritagone | April 5, 2017

Things That Make Me Cry



Lately, almost everything.

I watched a Youtube video of British composer John Rutter, whose music I love, who is now 71 and probably won’t be conducting his own music as often as he used to, as he conducted one of his most famous and often-performed pieces, “Look At The World,” and I grew very teary-eyed.

I watched an old episode of “Blue Bloods” in which a police chief had to suffer mandatory retirement at 63, so he went kicking and screaming, after filing a lawsuit against the NYPD (for dramatic tension) and even more tension against Police Commissioner Tom Selleck (how could he?), until on the day of his actual retirement he was escorted out of the building through subterfuge only to discover the hallway lined with policemen there to salute him and say good-bye with respect, while bagpipes played. (I don’t even like the sound of bagpipes, but I teared up.) It was very touching, or at least to me in this state I’m currently in, it made me cry.

Almost every episode of “Call the Midwife” has something in it that makes me cry, because it manifests how kind the midwives and nurses can be to people who desperately need kindness and compassion. “This Is Us,” the smash network hit, makes me cry because it knows too well how to play on one’s emotions…and it definitely gets my emotions going. Well done!! There are certain movies that I just can’t watch – no matter how many times I see them – without crying, and more so now than ever. Why is that? I don’t know. I just know they touch me internally in ways that start the tears flowing. So I stay away from “The Way We Were” and “Avalon” and “Dr. Zhivago” unless I have a box of Kleenex sitting right next to me.

I listen to particular pieces of music, and there I go again. Right now it’s Caccini’s “Ave Maria,” especially the instrumental version with Julian Lloyd Webber (Andrew’s son) playing cello, which sets off the waterworks. It’s an exquisite, haunting, sober work, attributed to Giulio Caccini (16th century) but really the work of Vladimir Vavilov (20th century), who was in the habit of composing pieces and then ascribing them to other composers, for some strange reason. Little did he know that this piece would become so well known and loved by so many! He’s probably crying somewhere too!

But this piece of music, and the cello work in the Japanese film “Departures,” and the aria from the Dvorak opera “Rusalka” called “Song to the Moon,” and anything from the voice of my daughter, and almost anything composed by John Rutter, and a recording of Mandy Patinkin singing “Once Upon a Time” in that beautiful lyrical tenor voice that is gone forever because that’s what happens to beautiful lyrical tenor voices: those musical moments make me cry.

I read something, I watch something, I think about something else, and I get weepy.

What is this?

I do analyze reasons for this, because that’s what I do: on my StrengthsFinders, INPUT is my #1 strength. I like to gather information, collect data, look into things, understand the why’s and wherefore’s. Even before I knew about StrengthsFinders, I knew that I enjoyed knowledge and the acquiring of it. I have a lot of books. I love research and studying. I’m one of those people who could easily have become a permanent, full-time student. So I thought and thought and tried to take apart the situation I’m in in order to understand why I’m so much more sensitive now than I was, say, 20 years ago.

And I think the answer is simple: 20 years have passed.

I’m 20 years older.

And getting older and older by the day.

And with each passing year comes a sense of “no going back,” of things that will never happen again, of opportunities that can no longer be even dreamed about, a sense of finality to much of life, a sense that wasn’t there before.

The last trip to Ireland is most likely the one we’re taking this July. The house we’re living in now is most likely the last one we’ll live in until we die. We will not move to a country cottage in England or a flat in Paris…ever. That kind of finality, those kinds of doors closing is what I’m talking about, and what makes me sad and weepy.

Oswald Chambers wrote: “The old Puritans used to pray for ‘the gift of tears.’” I understand this more and more: tears soften me, they melt my heart and cause me to smile while I’m actually crying. I’ll keep trying to dig deeply into the reasons, but maybe I’m just meant to let the tears flow and not so much “enjoy” them as let them be what they are: an expression of life and goodness and grace and mercy, of a life lived and enjoyed. God’s gift of tears to me is a gift I don’t want to ignore or take for granted. I just want to say thank you.



  1. Cry away, dear friend. One of the many qualities I love about you is your tender, compassionate heart. You love whatever and whomever you love intensely. And I suspect God loves that about you, too…Ps. 56:8 Karen H

  2. That’s Beautiful, Rita. Did you know that tears of joy and tears of sorrow are chemically different? Another wonder to contemplate about our God.

  3. Wow. What a vulnerable place to write from. I can’t imagine the feeling yet I know I’ll be there one day as well. You approach it so beautifully that you amaze me. Wish we could experience all things that are final that well! I love too what Martha writes about the chemical compositions of different tear types.

  4. And I want to say “thank you” for this wonderful reflection on the pathos of living. Thanks for the witness of your life, lovely woman!

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