July 1, 2020

Exeter, Devon, England

I was a very small child the last time I shed tears of unhappiness. Nor is that because no misfortune has ever befallen me. Even though my life is blessed beyond what most human beings can even imagine, I have, nevertheless, had to face disappointments and to endure both physical pain and terrible grief. But I do not cry. I deal with it like a big girl. After all, did I not inherited from my mother the storied stoicism of Native Americans? And did my father not pass on to me the noble British tradition of a “stiff upper lip?”

On the other hand, I am completely helpless against the simple clarity of an elegantly expressed thought or the beauty of a perfectly imagined passage of music or poetry. Observing any act of kindness or courage likewise reduces me to tears. But these are tears of sheer joy, and I refuse to be ashamed of them.