If Christ Can Cry, So Can You: Healing Toxic Masculinity Through the Empathetic Incarnate
(As published at Whosoever Magazine)
Here I sit in quiet stillness.
For 30 minutes, there is no scrolling, swiping, messaging, emailing, chores, work, or needs of any form.
For 30 minutes, I kneel before a makeshift altar composed of two candles and a vaguely anthropomorphic stone statue.
For 30 minutes, the solace of reflective prayer seems to stir something deep within me: Could it be emotions, thoughts, the Spirit… maybe a little indigestion…
Whatever it is, a feeling of Peace permeates throughout the entirety of my being.
As I move through the motions of a Queer-ed form of the Holy Rosary, I imagine my personal connection with Divinity: A connection which is much like that which one shares with a good friend. This type of connection is unlike most. It is rarely found and experienced in the world.
However, when it is found and it is experienced, it is never forgotten. It is the type of connection that can be called upon at a moment’s notice, even after months of silence, without the minutest amount of awkwardness or shame or fear.
I have found this practice of the Holy Rosary to be one of my favorite forms of prayer. It allows me to steady my mind and my body and my soul all while breathing with and listening to the nudges of the Spirit from deep within.
For the duration of the prayer, I am allowed to step outside of my own self, so to speak, and to think of the broader context of scripture. Not only does the Holy Rosary call upon the stories and rituals of old, it furthermore, imparts wisdom and experiential solidarity with the roar of today.
Last night, as I made my way through the Sorrowful Mysteries…
The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowning with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion and Death of Christ
… I had a bit of an epiphany: A moment of “OMG yesss! Duhhh! Why didn’t I think of this before?”
You see, this Christ dude knew full well the pain of betrayal, the shadow of loneliness, and the brutality of hatred. It is often said that the cross was meant to “take away our pain” but… I disagree: There’s a hell of a lot of pain and hatred and loneliness and sadness and brutality in our world still to this day.
Perhaps these Sorrowful Mysteries and experiences outlined in the Gospels are meant to show that Christ has existed in moments of pain and that Christ is here and now in the moments of our pain.
Perhaps Christ is holding our hands and breathing with us, wiping our tears and saying, “You are not alone,” and “It’s okay to cry.”
It is okay to cry.
For some men, this is a hard concept to accept. It was once hard for me as well. But we are all worthy of allowing ourselves the power to move through our emotions, no matter how big and scary they are.
As a person who grew up as a cis-man in a patriarchal society, I know all too well the opposition to and condemnation of emotions. The air that we breathe in America is riddled with the potent toxicity of masculinity.
Therapy is frowned upon. Medication is seen as a crutch of the weak. So many men inherit harmful lessons of how to transform their feelings of sadness, grief and sorrow into a distilled concentrate of anger, rage and hatred.
It is time for us all to both realize and actualize the divinity which dwells within mental health care.
Christ has allowed the tears that we shed. The Spirit beckons us to the process of unpacking our trauma. God invites us to end cycles of abuse and harm through therapy, medication, and the embrace of our full true self.
If Christ, the One who was fully God and fully human, can cry out, so can we. If The Trinity set aside time to process their fear and anguish in the garden, so can we.
If the Alpha and Omega sought counsel and relationship in moments of pain, so can we. It is only through embracing our emotions and honoring our minds that we can begin to heal our pasts and our futures.
Toxic masculinity is not the only form of masculinity in the world. Christ was an example of what can be healthy masculinity. Perhaps it is time that we live into the age-old adage, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Jesus would cry. Jesus would feel. Jesus would do what he could to heal the world, including himself.
The pain we feel is not from God; but mental health care, medications, counseling, and connection are.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, Divinity is with Thee. Blessed art Thou amongst the Depressed, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sufferers: Now and at every hour of our life.