I read once that babies need to cry to work through emotional experiences... and that simply letting them cry in your arms, holding them and talking softly, without rocking or calming or using a pacifier, is the key to helping them find peace on their own and eventually grow in their emotional capacity. No matter how long it takes.
I think I'm in that place.
The last few days have been more emotionally intense than I'm really able to handle. The mix of gratitude and anxiety and faith and love and total helplessness has left me crying anytime something pushes a trigger. Sacrament meeting piano number playing "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief"? Crying. Emails from family and friends and random strangers? Crying. Stake Fireside? Crying. I feel like I've been crying all day.
I think that writing has taken part of the place of crying... at least the place of processing my feelings aloud. I got home tonight and my sister asked if I was okay. My only answer was, "I need to write."
And I'm crying.
My mind is such a blur that I'm not really sure why. Whether it's from being overwhelmed at the stories of faith and happiness that I've heard... or because the last few days have made me far more cognizant of the incredible pain and stress and suffering around me... or because I'm anxious about my own life and my future... or because I've seen the hand of God so clearly and unmistakeably in my life... or because I somehow feel amazingly loved and understood... or because I feel wholly inadequate.
I think my crying today was a mixture of all of them. Intense positive emotional experiences that leave me grateful and drained. Huge feelings of responsibility and empathy for others that leave me constantly pleading with God to help me become a better person and to bless the people who need it most. And inadequacy and anxiety that leave me tottering on the edge. Then anything - from a smile to a Primary song - becomes the catalyst for tears.
I talked with God and realized that I'm afraid. Mostly because I feel like I have to save the world myself (or something else just as daunting), and am completely unable to do that. He was quick to remind me that saving the world is His work and glory, and, yes, I am completely unable to do that. Which is why my job is on a far lower scale - one that's within my reach.
That's interesting. I feel like, even though all the experiences are still there, all the emotions are still just as raw, I somehow have the ability to put them all in their places and not be in emotional overload. I think the crying, or the writing, or the talking with God and being willing to not worry about my own inadequacy... worked.
That makes me wonder. Someone in Church today talked about the
difference between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon after seeing a vision
of Heaven as outlined in D&C 76. Sidney was exhausted, and it took
him hours to really recover from the experience. Joseph was calm. But
when he first spoke with an angelic messenger, Joseph's own account
relates that he passed out while climbing over a fence much later in the day. Moses spent
hours recuperating, as did Abraham, from powerful spiritual experiences
early in their personal callings, and yet each of these somehow developed the spiritual
capacity? emotional capacity? to deal with / resolve / work through /
process / understand similar experiences with relative ease in their later
I wonder how accurate that is for life in general. I feel like just now, as a result of tears and words and prayer, I've watched my brain grow in its capacity to process emotions. But is that really happening? Does processing intense emotional experiences through writing/crying/praying increase my
capacity to process emotion without needing those interventions? And, perhaps even more importantly, is it the same with spiritual experiences? Something inside me feels like this is why the Lord speaks to us in so many different ways... is it according to our ability to process what we experience? Maybe that's why looking into Heaven is so much rarer than feeling the still, small voice... because we wouldn't be able to process / understand / appreciate / really internalize the experience without already having developed a greater spiritual capacity.
I think I like that. I'm not sure if I totally agree yet, but it makes sense.
And at least I've stopped crying.