I can't cry. Well, that is not entirely true. I very seldom cry. It is NOT that I think it unmanly or inappropriate. In fact sometimes I try to cry. I remember as a kid it being very cathartic. So every once in a blue moon I try. I attempt to recall how it felt and the way my face would crinkle up and give it a go.
This became a big concern for me so I went to talk to my spiritual director about it. It is not that I can't feel profoundly sad, it is just that I don't cry. He said, "I am afraid you just don't have the gift of tears."
I think it more diabolical than that. I blame my sister. One day when she was babysitting me and I started crying for some reason and she wanted me to stop before Mom got home took me into the bathroom and held me up the mirror.
Then we started laughing hysterically. A few times after that when I would cry I would go into the bathroom to see if I still looked funny - and I did - and I would end up laughing. So maybe I just got out of the habit. It was counter productive when I wanted to feel sad.
In my adult life there were three times that I really cried - I don't mean welling up in the eyes - I mean out and out cried. The first was when we sold the family house. It had to be and I understood but it was like a chapter in my life and in the life of my family and I cried and made a studious effort not to look at a mirror or walk past plate glass that day. I wanted to cry.
The second time was when a professor told me (IF I understood him correctly) that the Church was getting away from understanding the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ. (It is not.) Not only did I cry that day but was rather melodramatic about it. It was horrible - throwing things, falling on my face in chapel before the Blessed Sacrament - it is too embarrassing to go in to. . .
But the third time was during a movie. I'm not going to tell you what movie because that too would be too embarrassing for me to say. Strangely enough - it is a comedy. But it makes me cry like a baby.
So up until recently the rectory was FULL of people: a priest visiting from Sri Lanka, a seminarian from Korea, the resident priests and seminarians, and visitors who stay with us on a weekly basis - until last night. Everybody left. The seminarians are back at the seminary, Fr, Pfieffer is on vacation, our visitors have left, Fr. S. was away . . . it was just me. It was time to get the movie out which I keep super hidden under lock and key.
It was like it was radio active.
In the absolute privacy of the T.V. room (it even has glass block windows so nobody can see in) I watched my super secret movie and balled like a baby with a full diaper and an empty stomach.
And now - it is safely back in its hiding place not to be seen for at least five more years lest it lose its effect.
And that is one of the things that a priest does when he is finally all alone!
And to you men out there who can cry . . . I salute you.