As an adult I find myself crying in church and I never have a handkerchief. Neither does my husband. (I confess I have a weakness for men who can easily tie things on the tops of cars and hand me a clean handkerchief when I need one -- maybe I will marry one of those guys in my next life).
Other than church I hardly ever cry, but crying got me started going back to church (Faith Journal: First Entry) and it has followed me into my pew.
At first I though it was just the stress of being mother to a growing family. When I came to church in those early years I would sit in a grateful daze. It was just so peaceful -- just sitting -- with the two little lala's in the back somewhere playing with the other baby Unitarians. The words and songs would just wash over me.
If I shut my eyes I got the same feeling I had when I was a child and we used to drive to Mt. Hood to go skiing. The car would be packed with gear and family, with parents, sibs and me there were eight. If I was lucky I would get a seat near a window and lean against my puffy ski jacket wadded up against the door as a pillow. I would be in and out of sleep, listening to the conversations in the car while the Oregon woods flashed by on either side. Every once in a while a vine maple would fill the window with a green, clean light as it fluttered in unselfconscious beauty. Those vine maples gave me a shiver; on a sunny day they glowed in among the dark woods.
The crying would come because I would relax into the space of church and then something would reach me like those vine maples. A story of pain would make it to my heart, and as open as I was, I would cry.
It still happens all the time. Now it is often a story about someone in my church community who I've known for a long time. Or maybe the choir sings a song that reminds me of something. There are a million different triggers but they reach me because of a certain receptivity that I have when I am there. The same story or song doesn't have the same power anywhere else.