Are tears just an outward expression of what happens on the inside? Do our tears have a purpose, if they don’t then what’s the point? For many tears seem to bring relief but for others they are a sign of weakness. However you may feel about tears one thing we have to consider is the science behind tears.
The Science of Tears
According to Wikipedia: Our tears often serve to clean and lubricate the eyes in response to an irritation. Tears brought about by emotions have a different chemical make-up than those for lubrication; emotional tears contain more of the protein-based hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller) than basal or reflex tears. In other words the tears that keep your eyes moist are different from the ones when we are emotional.
Emotion & Tears
Tears often show up in our extreme moments – such as the exhilaration you feel at graduating after those strenuous years of studying or when we are finally reunited with a family member after decades of separation. When faced with death however it’s a different type of emotion one that cripples and in both extremes we either shed tears or have seen many who have. Yet the tears that are shed from joy and laughter are also totally different from those shed in sorrow.
If we exam the tears of joy & pain under a microscope we’d find 2 very different worlds.
The reality is, tears exist for a reason. I have seen that the moments where I am brought to tears are usually when I’ve reached a limit of my emotions. I have reached a point when words or actions cannot express what I feel. Whether it’s joy, hurt, or heaviness I’m experiencing, the tears created some relief. It’s interesting what King David says in Psalm 56:8 that truly God sees every tear and in fact takes note of them too.
Washington Irving wrote
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.