Johnny died last week.  He was 84.  He’d lived an incredible life but the last year had seen some severe deterioration of health and the end came really suddenly when it came.  He was hospitalized on Monday and gone by Thursday.  I really liked the man.  He was friendly, smart, strongly opinionated, hard working, caring, firm, difficult and kind.  He was also the dad of one of my best friends.

His funeral was yesterday and out of respect for Johnny, but also out of love and affection for my friend and his family my wife, I went to sit in the gathered group.  Not only was it the right thing to do, it was a good thing to do.  I considered it a gesture of respect for the deceased but also for his extended family. Funny, we don’t always give people enough respect in life so we add a little at the end.  Hmmm.

Anyway, I guess besides my attention to Johnny, I was impressed with my friend’s comportment.  My friend is a capable, well educated, sports loving, strong, non-emotional guy.  He says he has emotions but they rarely come out.  He’ll whoop when he sees a 50 yard completion in a football game.  But he never cries.  And if anything looks like it might be tearful, he retreats to a safe place in his shop to do woodworking.

But yesterday, he couldn’t retreat.  He got up to say a few words about his dad, and he did.  And he was doing fine.  He told funny stories.  He said complimentary things.  He was reading his script.  And it was going well.  Until the end.  He got to the final paragraph when he wanted to talk about saying “good bye to his dad” on the final lucid evening.  He lost it.  He didn’t exactly break down and flood, but he froze up, and you could see his tongue stopped working. His eyes grew moist.  He took a deep breath, paused and finished his script.  But it was there–his deep personal emotions surfaced.  I knew he had them.

A lot reading this post don’t struggle in this area.  You have strong emotions and they frequently show up.  But others, (like my friend, and me too sometimes), struggle to move beyond pure rationality into the scary zone of emotionality.  Being out of control isn’t the greatest feeling in the world.  But you know, if you are in a safe place, with friends that love you, and situations that support you, sometimes it’s okay to let it rip.

What makes you cry in life?  Have you cried lately?  (John 11:35–“Jesus Wept”).

I was proud of him.