I get teary this time of year. Not sad, exactly. More like thoughtful.

Fall turning over into winter brings out the beautiful melancholy, that may be part of it.


I think it also  has to do with the season of thanks and giving, the anticipation of advent, the deep knowing that Christ is our hope and it’s not because I did anything to deserve it.

Over the past several years I’ve been intentional to consider those times when I get teary. Not to over-analyze or find meaning where there isn’t any. Rather as a way of listening to what touches my soul.

Tears are the simplest way to listen for your life.

Recently I spent some time in the mountains of North Carolina serving as a retreat speaker at The Cove. Our worship leader for the week was Bryan Morykon, a singer, songwriter and self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. Our first night together as a group, Bryan sang his new-to-me song, and as I listened, I was reminded of an old, sacred truth:

“Be kind to one another. Jesus will show you how.

You’ve got to keep those words of life in your heart

so they spill right out of your mouth.”

-Bryan MorykonBe Kind

He sang the gospel that night.

Instantly, all of my relationships seemed so much less complicated. As the simple tune weaved its way into my heart, I remembered again what it means to love, to forgive, and to depend on Jesus. And my thankfulness showed up as tears.

Simple words with a simple melody carrying a profound truth.

It’s becoming more important to me to consider those moments when I tear up with respect rather than dismiss them or worse, apologize for them.

I wonder what it might look like for you to consider when the tears debuted from the depths within you? Was it a song lyric? A kind gesture from a friend? A question from a child? A line in a movie?

When was the last time you felt the stinging gift in your own eyes, this most natural reminder that you are alive, here, human?

Maybe it’s been a while for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the next time the tears rise up to meet you, don’t brush them aside.

Greet them, receive them, and listen for the life they bring.

The song I quoted here is from Bryan’s album, The Smallest Seed, which is available to download for free right now!

  • http://emilythomaswrites.com emily

    Tears as a way to listen to your life. Love it. I noticed just tonight how much less complicated my relationships are in the light of the Gospel. So encouraging to hear the same idea here.

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      You’re welcome, Emily! Sometimes I make things way too hard.

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  • Ruth

    Thank you. After decades of not tearing up I have just started, very tentatively, to tear up. To me it’s a new, and when I’m being honest, quite unnerving experience. Thank you for this gentle, God given, next step response.
    Bless you X

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      That’s beautiful, Ruth. It’s like you’re waking up.

  • Melanie Vanlaningham

    Tears are very natural for me – I pray, there are tears. I worship, there are tears. I work in a middle school with so many broken yet beautiful souls, there are tears. Lately as I’ve struggled with more stress at work – there are tears and I’ve tried to figure out what is ‘wrong’. Frustrating sometimes and a way that I’ve scolded myself for not being stronger. Just yesterday I gave myself permission to just experience whatever it was. Truly believe it’s the spirit moving in and around me as I experience life with His children. Let the tears flow.

    • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

      God bless you…nothing is “wrong” with you! You have a beautiful heart that shares deeply in the pain and struggle of others. Our world would be a better place if there were more people like you!
      Let the tears flow…Amen,

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      I used to be super embarrassed about the fact that I cried so easily – until a friend told me once that tears are evidence of life – and that helped me begin to be more kind with myself.

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    I used to get scolded for “wearing my heart on my sleeve”. I am a very “emotional” person. With age and experience, I have come to realize that our emotions are God given and He wouldn’t give us something He didn’t intend for us to use. Now, when the tears flow, I let them flow freely and thank God that I can feel so deeply about His great love for me! Thanks for a wonderful post!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      You’re welcome, Bev. Glad to hear you are embracing the full spectrum of your experience.

  • http://nextpagenash.blogspot.com Amanda

    I love this so much. I do not often CRY cry, it’s not how I generally express my emotions. But I “mist up” any time I see something touching and I’m grateful for the reminder to identify the “why” in those moments.

  • http://mercynotes.com Julie

    Emily, love how you take years, something we often want to dismiss or push aside because it symbolizes something wrong or the dark times and you bring out how it reflects our very aliveness, the very gift, that we are human. Tears teach me to pay attention, it’s often in wiping away their initial sting that I can see more clearly.

  • http://mercynotes.com Julie

    Years was supposed to be tears, even the autocorrect doesn’t want to acknowledge them and changes that word every time for me!

  • karyn

    For me tears are important. When I bowled there were only tears when I lost. I had no feeling in my heart. Now I know how to feel and how to cry when I’m hurt or when God touches my heart when I see HIM. God is healing me in this area of feeling again. I was a robot. No emotion.

    Tears rolled from my eyes last night when a child apologized for her father when his best friend lost the use of his legs cos of bullying. She did not want to lose her father’s best friend as her friend as her father was dead. The man was so angry. My husband thought I was being silly all over again over ‘sad movies, make me cry’.

    Your pin is so pretty. So very.

    God’s creation is so very beautiful.


  • Amber

    Great post. As someone who tears up easily and often, I love this perspective. Even though it often hurts to feel so deeply, I now recognize the tears as an acknowledgment of living, of capturing the moments, whatever they may bring. May the tears and mercy and grace flow freely.

  • JAT

    Yes! The richness of this time of year often sweeps over me! focus on thanks slips quietly to the waiting and preparation season of Advent to precede christmas miracle . Thanks Emily, Its as if you swiped a bright yellow highlighter across a long playing pattern in my life. Now , off to wipe my {glistening} tears. Or not!

  • http://www.cherylricker.com Cheryl Ricker

    Sensitive post, Emily. I’m writing a book right now for Zondervan. It’s a true story about a woman with a tender heart like yours–and mine (and so many of your dear commenters). This woman cries a lot of tears. And reading your post encourages me to not hide them on the page, but rather, to let the tears flow…with her beautiful heart. Thanks.

    • http://JudyGordonMorrow.com Judy Gordon Morrow

      Cheryl, how wonderful to see you here! I was praying for you earlier as you continue to work on the book. How good of God to lead you to Emily’s post and to use it in such a timely way. Hugs to you, my friend!

  • LuZ

    Ive been a believer almosr 38 years surrendered my life at th age of 25 after a few brief brushes w/death that could have left an orphan child-n th day i surrendered i recall crying n th second blessing of God’s Holy Spirit infillin my life canonly be compared -my soul’s washin like th cycle of a huge laundry load spining in th washer-n wel then th tears that flow freely since then-when my walk gets dusty the tears that flow from regret for my slip ups like th cycle of my windshield wipers on my car..so Lord thank u for th affirmation from this ministry..n for just last nite’s eye tear cycle after th confrontational episode my guy friend n i had bcause th songwriter n singer that he is >is finally learning perfectionism is not a humble attitude: grateful to learn that he is not th only 1 w/this character flaw. U can checkhim out in Utube~Thomas w.Dawes-performin some of th music n lyrics God has inspired him to write as we reach out to those who will allow us to share his gift-thank you once again for your encouragement-amen!

  • MumzE

    These words, so capture my heart and thoughts! They clearly define my outlook and Falls mystique on me. Thank you for voicing what I hadn’t pondered long enough to formalize! Blessings!

  • http://www.prayhard-liveeasy.com Colby

    Bless you and your beautiful soul. Love this!

  • http://JudyGordonMorrow.com Judy Gordon Morrow

    I so appreciated your wise words, Emily–insights so beautifully expressed. Years ago the Lord told me not to apologize for my tears, but I still need to be reminded at times. I do know that tears have been God’s gift to me as they rinse my soul of sadness and clear my vision to see things from his perspective.
    “Tears are the simplest way to listen for your life.” Thank you for those profound words that give me yet another way to view my tears and to value anew this gift from God.
    And I’m glad to know of you and others who feel “the beautiful melancholy” of fall. I’ve enjoyed the precious words of all the commenters and pray that we will treasure this season and our times of God-given tears. Blessings!

  • http://www.gracefulgaines.com Wendy

    Having been one to always tear up easily, I love the idea of appreciating the gift of feeling life so deeply. The holidays always bring many happy, grateful tears to my eyes. I will be sure to be thankful for them this year. Thanks for the insight.
    Wendy :)

  • http://anngraham.wordpress.com Ann Graham

    I’ve noticed that tears come more easily when my heart is soft, tender. Sometimes it’s at times of sadness. This week I’ve teared up a number of times over the situation in the Philippines. At other times I think it’s a worship response to God when the beauty of a moment overflows. And tears can take you by surprise. I remember watching a You Tube clip a while back, of a group singing the Hallelujah chorus in a Food Court. And another time when my mum showed a beautiful old bible given to her Great Grandfather I think, in recognition of many years of service to his church. There was no stopping the tears when I read the hand-scripted dedication in the front.
    I agree, tears are a gift.
    And thank you also Emily for the link to Brian Morykom’s album. I hadn’t heard of him before, and I’m already loving his music and words.

  • Beth Williams

    I am a very emotional person. This time of year, especially is very emotional for me. What gets my faucets flowing…it could be the words to a song-most likely–or just a look at the beautiful sunset/sunrise and the array of colors God has chosen to shower us with.

    It may also stem from the fact my dad, 88, isn’t getting any younger and is having some health issues. Mom died 4 years ago this August, so kind of a sad time for me. Also I miss my family, which is spread out all over the world from China to Florida, GA & VA.

    Blessings to all!

  • LaRonda

    “Tears are the simpliest way to listen for your life.” I love this perspective! Often I try to shut off my tears, not listen. Perhaps our tears are a result of what is deep down inside that we can’t put words to…joy, awe, amazing love, sadness, disappointment and sorrow. It could be our way of connecting with Jesus! Next time those tears flow I will be looking and listening not shutting them off.
    Thank You!

  • Jayne

    A wise person recently advised me to look at days of crying and sorrow as “healing days” vs “bad days.”. I love that shift in perspective and feel that’s how God intends it. To not give us bad days but to help us move through the emotion and forward.

  • Irma

    “When was the last time you felt the stinging gift in your own eyes, this most natural reminder that you are alive, here, human?” I can relate to what you’ve been writing. Have also been feeling the tears just flowing these days and it’s not because of any grievances but all because of what he’s done and is still doing in my life. When gratitude spills through your eyes..

  • http://hamershappenings.blogspot.com Lisa

    I used to consider it being strong to not cry or show emotion. I called myself “emotionally constipated”. In the last couple of years, I have started to feel again. Even though I still hate crying, I’ve come to the realization that emotion is a good thing…it means we feel.

  • Gretchen

    Thank you, Emily, for making sense of my tears that often come when I least expect them. My heart is full of gratitude for so many things in my life…some happy and some that started out really painful.
    I will now allow myself to focus on those times and really remember the fullness of what brings the tears to the surface.
    It is a lovely thought.
    Thank you so much.

  • http://www.tabithadumas.com Tabitha

    I had many teary moments over the weekend on a women’s retreat, thank you for reminding me to pay attention to those.

  • http://beckykeife.blogspot.com Becky Keife

    Loved this, Emily. Thank you for sharing this sweet perspective. Time and again I see my friends apologize for their tears or try to justify them…okay, if I’m honest, I do it sometimes, too. But I love this approach of being mindful of what stirrings of the heart may be causing these slight trickles (or in my case, sometimes fountains.) :)

    Last week when my kiddos and I were sick a friend surprised me with a care package left on my front porch: vanilla latte, dinner, crackers, and little toys from the dollar store for my boys. I was weeping at her kindness and generosity. Tears for God’s love and grace. I could have easily texted my friend a thank you. But instead I did the harder thing and called her, obviously crying, so she could understand the depth of my emotion, my gratitude. And I’m so glad I did.

  • Rebecca

    As someone who is regularly in touch with my teary side, I appreciated the thoughts here so much. Sometimes my tears come from hurt or anger, and other times from sweetness and joy. I’ve always thought a good cry is needed from time to time to reset my emotional state!

  • Tina

    I felt as if I were reading about myself. Thank you for putting into perspective something very real and unavoidable. I had learned, with the loss of our first daughter, not to be afraid of tears, to meet them head-on. But I guess I would get lost with my emotional tears that seemed to appear for no reason other than marking the passing of time (I, too, tear up with the passing of seasons). You have given me new focus in these times, to also meet them head-on, and not dismiss them, to drink in the moment, to learn and grow!

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