Falling Leaves, Rising Thumbs & Dry Eyes
A Plea to Slow Down Enough to (Maybe) Cry
“There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.” - Archbishop Oscar Romero
I think it was last Thursday. The falling leaves behind my reflection in the window, had my attention, even though it was supposed to be giving to the guy on the other end of the Zoom call.
The subject of conversation? Metaphors and Illustrations. Over the years, I’ve had this conversation more than just about any other. Someone asking me how (and why) I use so many illustrations or metaphors in my communication. More specifically, where I find them.
Everywhere. Anywhere I’m looking at something, I believe it’s meant to tell us about something else.
So I demonstrated.
Before I could start scanning the room for an example, my eyes were drawn back to the falling leaves outside my window. And just like that we found ourselves in a conversation about grief, death, and why we don’t cry.
Falling Leaves and Dry Eyes
Every falling leaf is an active death. Disconnected from its source, it was alive and now it’s not. We don’t think about that much. We don’t think about it as death, even though we call them dead leaves. It’s so common to be surrounded by that kind of death, that we remain unmoved. We don’t cry for those deaths.
Dry eyes—those deaths mean much.
You may be thinking to yourself…John, this is only Day 4. You’re reaching with this one. Surely you’ve got more in the tank than to try to make us cry over dead leaves.
Remember, metaphors/illustrations are signposts to point us to something else. I’m more concerned about the dry eyes than the dead leaves.
Different Deaths. Same Dry Eyes.
The falling leaves reminded me of my rising (active) thumbs. We’ve all been there. Scrolling our timelines, seeing tragedy, and giving the news of real death the same passing (and passive) glance we give to falling leaves. Even though those deaths are real death.
Someone, somewhere has started crying and won’t stop anytime soon.
Yet our eyes stay dry. At least mine do. Just as dry as when we’re surrounded by falling leaves.
I know why we don’t cry over falling leaves.
I’m beginning to wonder why we don’t cry more over news of others losses?
Forget crying. Why don’t we pause more? Maybe tears aren’t feasible for every loss of every person that comes across our timelines. Maybe some other response is more appropriate.
Maybe a pause.
Something to break the monotony of believing that death is somehow natural or normal or the way things were meant to be.
Maybe a breath.
Something to remember that life is beautiful and meant to be cherished and lived to the fullest.
Maybe a reflection or a prayer of gratitude.
Something that acknowledges life’s fragility and calms the frenzied way we hurry through it without being grateful for much of it.
Maybe a tear every once in a while.
Like the good Archbishop Oscar Romero once said, “There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”
Maybe a tear every once in a while would do us some good. If we stop long enough to let them come out.
But that’s a conversation tomorrow.
Until then, give your thumbs a break.
Maybe even Cry.
Day 4/30 - 30 Days of Hope
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