Wednesday, July 30, 2008


How do we shut our emotions down? Sometimes I'd like to be able to do that. A few nights ago I came across a photograph on the internet that turned me into a weeping wreck. A young boy, maybe 10, is accepting a folded flag from a Marine officer. No doubt from his father's grave. He is trying very hard not to break down. And he's doing a better job than I did. Seeing that photograph, I totally and completely lost it.

Why does this happen? I don't know anyone in the picture. I don't even really know the circumstances, only guessing at what the image "means." But I think it's a good guess. In fact, I think it is spot-on.

I think that when we are younger we are better able to suppress our emotional reactions to such things. And as we age we accumulate a larger and larger bag of memories, regrets, sentiments, and just plain old-fashioned feelings. Sometimes something comes along that triggers them, opens up the bag, and it all comes tumbling out. Whether we want it to or not, it all comes tumbling out.


Anonymous said...

Maybe he's Southern. We're taught from a very early age that men don't cry.

Rio Arriba said...

Well, I, too, am a 'displaced' Southerner and I know of what you speak. My Dad was the original straight-laced Southern gentleman raised by Victorians for whom emotional displays of any kind were taboo. But sometimes you just gotta let it out!

Anonymous said...

The picture brought tears to my eyes also.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. The boy is doing very well. We do try to stay poised and composed in public. Sometimes, though, such photos, or something else, seems to open a storehouse full of hopes still unfulfilled, love not lived and given, sadness which hasn't seen enough light, weariness from decades of battles not won, etc.

In those moments, there are huge waves of feelings, and sometimes the tears pour. Sometimes the feelings are so much that they are covered with the blanket of shock.

I admire how the very old so often just quietly rise up and go on, because it is to wearing to do anything else.

May God bless your dear heart.

I thank you for posting the photo, and your glimpses of our humanness.