When I was younger, I thought that boys and grown men shouldn't cry, much less show that they can be reduced to tears. The tears were signs of being weak and a sissy, which a man isn't supposed to be, supposedly. This was even reinforced in my young mind when the Cure came out with the song, Boys Don't Cry, in the early 1980s.
But just this last June, I discovered that courage isn't all about trying to keep all the pain inside in check. Courage isn't all about trying to hide the tears. It's the opposite -- the tears reinforce the heart's courage. And I saw this in my father.
My 18-year old sister eloped and with it, I saw how vulnerable my father's heart was. My siblings and I were used to seeing him as an imposing figure and an iron-willed, authoritarian father.