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Stiff Upper LipThere is, I think, a certain pre-conditioning that sometimes takes place when you are a male and, I have to say, a British male.

Now I have to qualify that comment by admitting that it could well be that the same pre-conditioning could happen to you if you are female and indeed if you are not a British male. But being neither female or non-British I am of course not qualified to make such a claim.

Being male and having been born and raised in England and having educated along with and growing up around lots of other English boys I can tell you that the pre-conditioning – the “keep a stiff upper lip” mentality that I speak of was very common.

And in my childhood so too were statements such as “Stop crying! Boy’s don’t cry!” and “if you don’t stop those tears I will give you something to cry about” and “Stop your sniveling, I didn’t hit you that hard!”.

It – the “boy’s don’t cry” mentality is an approach and a mentality that I have sought to combat in the raising of my own kids. And statements such as those mentioned above, that I heard from my father, I have actively avoided saying to my children.  They are all so very harmful aren’t they?

Crying, whether you are a male or a female, is OK!  Not only is it OK, but it can be totally understandable and acceptable and even healthy.  It can offer such a heart-felt communication and release.  And after all did not Christ himself cry?  (John 11:35) Wasn’t he male?  And a full grown man?

But what happens when you can’t cry?  What happens when every fiber of your being seems so much to want to cry but you simply can’t bring yourself to do it? What happens when the tears won’t fall?

As I said, I have fought against that “stiff upper lip” and “boys don’t cry” pre-conditioning and indeed can and do cry on different occasions, but for the past few days now I have so desperately felt the need to cry and yet have been unable.

Physically my health is as it usually is.  Spiritually I am, as far as I know, as I was. I even managed to get to church on Sunday and bible study last night which was a real blessing and I even managed to stay relatively focused.  But emotionally and mentally something is desperately wrong and it is so unsettling.

howcantearsThere is of course always hope and I know and recognize that and I continue to speak that hope into my current depression.  It is hard, so incredibly hard isn’t it?

But I am not alone despite the fact that it feels that no-one other than a great and merciful God could even understand, let alone penetrate, such a blanket of darkness.

And yet He does understand and He will penetrate it, my part is to be open to that and to invite that and claim that.  So out of that darkness, when the tears won’t fall – yet even so my prayers will rise.