She reached for a second tissue. “Sorry about all the tears,” she said. Some people pour their morning joe for a pick me up. I go for my Megan. Our always steady and ready office manager Megan isn’t ruffled by a crashed computer or an overflowing toilet. Still, on this morning, she dabbed the tiny silver ring in her nose as the drops kept falling. 

It was Lily’s first day at a new school. Across town. Where she knew no one. A school where she would be different and feel alone.  While Megan knew all was well for her child, crying could not be avoided. Soon she let out a deep sigh. 

This week social media fills with shining faces of innocence leaving us for places unknown.  Caretakers capture the moments to share their awe while shedding tears when no one is looking. 

My memory flashed to that August afternoon on a grassy lawn 20 years ago when I parted from my youngest. School was soon to start. 1000 miles away from home. It was college. Jack was 15. You can bet there were more than two tissues. 

Protectiveness, pride, loss, and love—all in a single moment. The wise cells in our body know something needs to be released while our society sends messages that they’re wrong. 

What would it be like for heartfelt feelings to not be hidden when the office frustration raises our fury or the news from Afghanistan crushes our soul? What if feelings were met with a bit of empathetic equanimity instead of an invitation to embarrassment? What if we could hold the space for others to simply feel? 

When I was in the courtroom on a weekly basis, I had a habit of keeping a fresh handkerchief in my briefcase in case a client was caught by surprise by the emotion of the moment. I still like to keep a spare because weddings and funerals ought not to be the only places where we are safe to reveal we are human. 

This week my Jack heads back to school again. He’s leaving his Harvard lawyer job in California to travel to northern Maine to the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. There he’ll head into the forest, sleep on the ground, and find his food in the wild. 

I’m all for sobbing without shame.  

Coach Koenig 

Do you get embarrassed if you become tearful? 

Does vulnerability from others make you uncomfortable? 

What worries you most about the inside of your heart showing on the outside?