“You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it…You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, … you should go to next.” -Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized
Buechner’s words connect so well with the understanding of how tears may be an important part of the healing growth process of Gestalt Pastoral Care. In Gestalt Pastoral Care we pay close attention to emotions and how feelings are expressed bodily. Tears are one case in point. As a Gestalt Pastoral Care Minister, I believe tears are a gift from God, and signs of the movement of the Holy Spirit in one’s healing journey. However, some individuals have been taught tears are a sign of weakness. For some, crying is thought to be shameful, and in some situations tears have not been allowed. But the truth is, tears and crying serve a purpose. Tears may allow buried sadness and hurt to be released. Often tears are experienced as cleansing and freeing. In a similar way, tears may connect one to God’s deep love. Tears may come as we are awed by God’s grace meeting us in our broken or vulnerable places.
In Gestalt Pastoral Care as we work with individuals, when tears start to trickle, or to flow easily, or as they accompany deep sobs, we pay attention. We may ask, “If your tears could speak, what might your tears be saying?” And, some of the most amazing awareness and healing comes in answer to this simple question. Yes, as Buechner writes, “Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them…”
Rev. Wanda D. Craner
Gestalt Pastoral Care Minister