Sometimes, on our birthdays, we are consumed with a trepidation of tears. These tears well from the heart for several reasons. It could be, that upon the reception of such great love from so many good people, that we are overwhelmed at how truly loved we really are. The tears may come, during the celebration, smiles, and songs of joy, because of a deep sense of unworthiness at such love. For we have all done things making us unworthy of love, whether major things, or minor things. The major things, we needn’t mention, but the minor things may be our careless words, or short answers, or even biting gossip or slander against the very people we love the most. We’ve all done this, alas. So, at the presentation of the food, wine, candles and cake, we are reminded of these things, and it causes us to be thankful in our unworthiness to have received such forgiveness and deep, deep love from the ones we ourselves love. So, there are tears.
On the contrary, it may not be a sense of unworthiness at all. Instead, it may be the somber knowledge of the finitude of life. With all the vicissitudes of life and vehement cries of anguish at the dread of death, we have this moment of joy, but alas that it will not last. For nothing is forever, we say. This too, causes us to perhaps hide the tears; but still they remain, seated deep within our souls, waiting for that quiet moment in the dark or during an evening walk when all the noise of life is shut out, and we are faced with the ultimate: our lives will not last, so we say. The tears come, and they are solemn.
There is a third possibility for why we well with tears during such occasions as the celebration of yet another year of life—our birthday—and what a glorious day it is! This reason is because, though we know our unworthiness of love and the forgiveness we have received from those who truly love us, and though we know the finitude and fragility of our short, temporary lives, we sense there really is lasting joy that transcends the sunlit trees glowing yellow-green in the fading evening sun. There is a love supreme and a burning heart of fire that encompasses all and gives life to all, and is the source of eternal joy. And this love, this holy love, is the love that forgives, and gives life. It swallows death and makes all things new. This love fills us with hope, and it is this hope that drives our tears. This love unites with one another in compassionate devotion. Why would hope spring forth a well of soft tears? This is a mysterious thing of which I cannot plumb the depths. There are such things as tears of joy, and these tears drip with a divine love, an eternal love, and a love beyond our human understanding.