Oh For Crying Out Loud

A toddler girl crying

A toddler girl crying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever had the sudden urge to cry? You know, the moment when you’re on the verge of tears and you can’t explain why.

It feels like your “meditating in a mosh-pit” of emotion (I’m borrowing the phrase from a podcast I listen to)?

Life is going on around you. Things are going well. You’ve had some triumphs and successes. You and your family are healthy. You can make ends meet. There’s no eminent danger or worry. Friends are clamoring for your attention and you’re in demand. You look good and your clothes fit.

Life is GOOD.

So why aren’t you happy? Ever been here?

I have, more times than I care to admit. I’ve found myself standing at the crying crossroads; standing there shaking my head and at a loss for words. And my family tiptoes past me as they go on about their business trying to figure out what’s wrong.

My friend and I were talking about this phenomenon this week. She was fighting back emotion. She couldn’t identify what was bothering her. And immediately I was there with her; ready to sit in the uncertain place with her.

Later, it reminded me of a scene in the Matrix (which is one of my favorite movies) where Agent Smith is interrogating Morpheus. He says: 

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this: the peak of your civilization.

I guess in some ways it’s true that in the absence of hard times our minds make us weary. And we start looking for the “wrong” or the “bad” that’s sure to come. Utopia scares us. We don’t believe it’s real. We create some of our own trouble.

The end of 2012 found me in this very state … maybe it was the weather or maybe I was depressed. Or it could have been that I was overwhelmed at times … no matter what I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason for my desire to cry. It was a hard thing to keep in check.

I was living with a constricted throat and watery eyes, blinking fast. Choking back what would surely overflow to drown me and anyone else close by …

And Saturday morning, to my surprise, I woke with that familiar feeling again. I thought I’d passed it.

Fortunately, this time I was able to name my waterworks rabble-rousers: anxiety … a sense of failure … a sense of letting people down.


All because Spring Break was coming to a close and I hadn’t helped my son with his homework.

Crazy? I know.

I spent the week waffling between “we’ll do it today” and “let’s wait till tomorrow”. Now vs. Later. Ultimately I procrastinated … This is not the lesson I want to teach my son.

At the heart of it, my urge to cry was because I feel like a bad mom (which I’m not).

The flip side of the story … we had a great week together as a family. My dudes were able to rest and enjoy it. And the assignment isn’t due until April 15. So there is still plenty of time.

I’m over it. The moment is gone. I no longer feel like crying.

Now if I can just be still long enough to enjoy this and not reject the idea that life can be fine and problem-free sometimes …

The best advice I can offer my friend (and myself) is this: Sometimes you just need a good cry.

Am I right?

Let it out. And then we can look at what’s causing it and decide what to do next.

If you’re facing the crying crossroads I wish you peace. Be encouraged. Know that you’re not alone and that it will pass.

Blessings and Happy Spring!

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  1. I’ve been so guilty of stirring up non-existent friction lately in my life. Why? Because everything is going so well. Gotta love it!

    Not to get all scientific here, but stress throws us into survivor mode so we can get all neanderthal. In modern times, everything is pretty darn convenient so the only thing we’re kind of hunting for is a paycheck to meet our monetary survival needs.

    I guess when things are good, we get uncomfortable with just being peaceful. It’s something we neanderthals have to work at. : )


  1. […] Oh For Crying Out Loud from the Jotter’s Joint A look at crying, its meanings, and what it can sometimes teach us. […]

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