I was reminded of this tonight as I read Grimm's "Aschenputtel," otherwise known as Cinderella. In this version, there is no fairy godmother. Instead, Aschenputtel's tears produce her beautiful dress not once, but three times. These tears are first cried at her mother's grave. When her father announces that he will journey to the fair, he asks what his daughters want. The two step daughters want fine clothes and jewels and pearls. Aschenputtel asks for the first twig that brushes against his hat. She takes this hazel twig to her mother's grave, plants it, and weeps. From the tears, the twig flourishes into a beautiful tree and a bird arrives in the tree to bring her what she wishes.
When her stepsisters and stepmother go off to the ball without her, she goes to her mother's grave, sits under the hazel tree and CRIES:
"Little tree, little tree, shake over me,
That silver and gold may come down
and cover me."
The bird throws down her dress, and well, we know what happens next.
Her tears are the birthplace of her new life. They are her baptism. They are her gateway to her golden shoes. Aschenputtel's shoes are not glass, but gold. The shoes are just the outward physical manifestation of what is inside. We know it is her soul that is gold.
We need not suppress our tears. To withhold our tears is to deprive ourselves and the world of cleansing. It is to deprive our wounds and the wounds of others the healing balm they seek: recognition of grief and loss. Healing cannot begin without walls coming down and floods of tears washing over every cut, crack, scrape and hole, engulfing shards, poisons, knives, bullets and broken pieces. Our holy tears contain the honored memory of what we held on to with such love. Holy tears are water, where all life begins. New life, new meanings. When we've cried out all the tears, we can no longer stay amongst the ash. New meanings demand that our golden souls shine. When we walk forward in this new life, we are reminded that our beloved whom we thought was lost is actually here, helping us and has been always. The beloved is in the tear and in the flourishing. How could the beloved be separate? He/She can't be.