Every now and then the emotional tumblers click into alignment and I'm left helpless, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Sometimes it's over quickly, sometimes it comes and goes, subsiding in diminishing waves. I take a deep breath, and "Wow, that was intense!"
Such episodes have been rare in my life. I'm more accustomed to moments of awe, joy and wonder. But those moments usually came without tears.
Tears started after my transplant. It had taken me two years to realize that dependence on dialysis was a gift of life. After the transplant, the thought that someone died and that their death gave me new life was overwhelming. I would think of that unknown young man and the grief of his wife and child and I would be helpless. My tears of joy were also tears of grief.
For a while these tears were on a hair trigger. Sequences of events and images would turn the tumblers into alignment. I realized that these tears were moments of awe, that they were glimpses of the powerful forces of life and death and not unlike moments of joy and wonder. For a while I could manipulate the images and summon these moments and I would seek them out and marvel. As time went by, this ability grew more and more distant and these moments of awe and helplessness became less frequent.
Now, of course, I'm back on a hair trigger.