Why am I the only one crying?

Why am I the only one crying? August 16, 2010

I met a woman who had loved Mozart her whole life. We were at a large dinner party. She sat next to me and quietly said, “You know, I have a Jewish background, but I go sometimes to their church. It’s so somber that it makes me cry. I’ve lost two teenage girls, you know. I look around and no one even moves. Their Lord died two thousand years ago. Why am I the only one crying?” She stared off past my salad and then offered, “It’s why I love Mozart, because under all his skill, the one chord he returns to keeps saying, ‘Why am I the only one crying?’”

Is this woundedness or aliveness? It is surely an example of having very little left between your heart and life. While some think this makes us weak, I believe it is what we are put here for: to wear away and love away everything in between. Much depends on what we do with such a sensibility. Clearly, the weight of feeling and perception with nowhere to go with it is the burden of being a watcher. It can be lonely and debilitating. But when we can give voice to and share what rises through us, it joins us. Ultimately, what we do with the waterfall of our sensitivities matters. That the woman who loves Mozart dared to break through her polite conversation with a stranger to speak of the tenderness of being alive keeps that unexpected feeling from festering into a wound. Between us, it stays alive. Between us, it helps us live.

In truth, aliveness and woundedness are ever-changing states that we move through like wakefulness and sleep. And it seems that the practice of honest expression is necessary to move from sleep to wakefulness and from woundedness to aliveness. Being human, we are constantly slipping from one to the other. Repeatedly the cost of not expressing who we are turns out to be woundedness. Not surfacing who we are and what we feel results in self-echo, dividedness, isolation. If allowed to fester, wounds can’t heal. Then we risk imploding. On the other side, the gifts of expressing who we are manifest in our aliveness. Such commitment to the flow of presence results in connection, wholeness, and membership in the Universal Ground of Being. And when everything comes alive, wounds given to air can heal. Then we risk falling in love with everything.

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