It’s OK To Cry. It’s OK To Show Emotion. It’s OK To Be Vulnerable.

So…last week I talked about the 5 things that I do in my life to keep me happy and smiling. This week, for the monumental fourth week of my blog, I decided to do an off road experience and talk about the complete opposite of happiness, so I hope you brought your seat belts to BUCKLE UP. I know. I know. You’re probably asking yourself “But why Mr. Sunshine?!” Well, even Mr. Sunshine has a few cloudy days and rumbles of thunder sometimes, so I want to explore vulnerability and let you know that it is OK to cry and show emotion.

First off though, can we just take a hot second of a moment to talk about how the summer is already coming to a close? To me, it feels like we were just ringing in the New Year watching the ball drop in NYC to light up the bright, big 2018 in Times Square! With this week’s post, I actually was ahead of the game and not procrastinating to the last minute…BELIEVE it. I decided to take a rainy Tuesday evening to spend some time reflecting, drinking a few sips of wine, listening to inspirational tunes (well, actually Disney princess songs to be honest), and writing out these very words you are reading now.

As I look back at the summer and the months that have passed thus far in 2018, there is much to reflect upon–moments of pure happiness and joy that put a big smile on my face and also moments of both sadness and darkness that have brought tears to my eyes. Some of those joyful moments I’ve had the privilege of experiencing this year were stage managing my first show on the EPAC stage, becoming a mentor as part of the Worthy Mentor Program, enjoying a week long vacation at the beach with my family, and launching my very first personal blog!

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Right now, as I write the words to this current sentence, I have one of my favorite hymns playing in the background on my laptop which happens to be a version performed by one of my favorite country singers, Carrie Underwood. And can we just talk about not only how BEAUTIFUL her voice is, but also how BEAUTIFUL her legs are too?!. Yes, that’s right…#Carrielegs. Anyhoo…getting back on track from the diversion of hashtags and beautiful legs. Gosh…I LOVE legs.

For many of you who know me, it will come as no shocker that this hymn is the classic “How Great Thou Art.” This is one of those hymns, no matter how many times I play it, sing it, or listen to it makes me tear up with emotion when thinking about life–whether it is thinking about what has happened in the past, thinking about what is happening in the present, or thinking about what is going to happen in the future. It’s one of the few hymns that can really cause me to stop and think about what is around me and how appreciative and lucky I am for all that God has given me in this life.

Earlier this summer, I learned that my brother and his wife had experienced a miscarriage for the second time. She was carrying twins and it was a little over a year since she had gone through her first miscarriage. I learned of this information on a Friday afternoon at work and immediately had to leave my desk to go out and cry in the privacy of my car. It was a moment of breakdown for me.

That Sunday at church, we happened to be singing “How Great Thou Art” as the closing hymn to the service. During the last couple of verses, I had a breakdown of emotion and tears while playing the notes on the organ–I couldn’t even sing along with the congregation because I was so distraught inside with sadness. It was one of those raw moments of my life that really hit me deep down.

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Last year, toward the end of summer, I learned that a very dear friend of mine who I had the pleasure of working with on two shows at the EPAC had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of some vital, internal organs. The outlook was not good and I remember crying on the couch the night I found out because, once again, I was overcome with a raw emotion of sadness. I had the opportunity to work alongside this individual during my Stage Manager duties this year, which was a true blessing and gift for me–something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

This particular individual, who happened to be Pat Kautter, passed away on Monday, August 20. She had given a brave and courageous fight to the disease for just about a year. I happened to be at church that morning practicing piano and received a text from my roommate, Karey letting me know Pat was no longer with us. I will never forget that moment. I dropped my phone and fell to my knees in tears and screamed at the top of my lungs. The tears flowed for a good half hour as I just knelt on the carpet…feeling hopeless and letting the tears fall down my face and hit the ground. Even three weeks later, there are moments of complete breakdown I still have at random times.

These moments of extreme emotion happen to be the ones where I’m reminded of how much I have in my life–how many wonderful blessings I have been given. We all have so much to be thankful for, but we always seem to get caught up in the daily grind of our busy lives that we forget to take those necessary moments to step back and observe the beauty of the world around us.

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While listening to “How Great Thou Art” with writing this post, I was able to close my eyes, appreciate and reflect on some blessings in my life for a few moments, and cry some tears. A loving and supportive family, a wonderful job and career, a roof over my head, amazing friends who help me to make lasting and wonderful memories, a church family that will go to any lengths to help each other through the rough times, and so many other entities that are too numerous to mention. These are just some of the things that cause my eyes to swell with tears and my soul to sing at the same time.

It should come as no surprise that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I cry…a lot. I get emotional…a lot. And it bothers me to no end that our society seems to have a stigma on males who cry a lot and show vulnerability and emotion. It DOES NOT make us less manly. It DOES NOT make us less of a person. It DOES; however, show that we are a genuine human being with feelings.

Sometimes we just want a good cry to get it all out. Or a warm hug and embrace to know that it is all going to be OK. We shouldn’t be judged for that.

The next time you get caught up in the life around you, take those necessary moments to step back and reflect. take a moment to listen to “How Great Thou Art” and think about the aspects of your life that make your soul sing. Take a moment to tell someone in your life that you love and appreciate them because you never know when that moment will be gone.

Take a moment to let human emotions take over the waterworks of your eyes.

It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to show emotion. It’s OK to be vulnerable.

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Sprinkle sunshine always,

JP!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @mrsunshine827