Most of us who are a little older have seen a movie starring John Wayne at one time or another. Over the years, John Wayne became known as the “man’s man.” There probably has not been anyone who is tougher, stronger, and more determined to succeed in life, or in the movies, than John Wayne. He was bigger than life, on screen and in person.
I have done a little research into his life and was amused by some of my findings. According to Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia, John Wayne placed third among Americans as their all-time favorite film star. He is the only deceased star who remains on the list, as well as being the only one who has appeared on the Harris poll every year since it first began in 1994. In 1999, the American Film Institute named John Wayne as the thirteenth greatest male star of all time. Anyone who lives on the planet earth has surely heard of John Wayne!
I think the thing that impressed me most about him was not so much his acting career, as much as his strong pro-America stance. Soviet documents released in 2003, reveal that, despite being a fan of John Wayne’s movies, Joseph Stalin ordered Wayne’s assassination due to his strong anti-communist politics. Stalin died before the killing could be accomplished. His successor, Nikita Khrushchev, reportedly told Wayne, during a 1958 visit to the United States, that he had personally rescinded the order. Don’t you find it interesting that a world-leader such as Joseph Stalin would actually want to kill John Wayne? Again, he was a unique individual; probably one of a kind.
As much as I appreciate John Wayne as an icon of manhood, I really do wish that all of us could realize that from time to time it is okay to cry. I know it doesn’t sound very masculine or “manly,” but I think it is important to face the reality that sometimes tears are valuable. I once heard that tears represent pain that is leaving our body. I like that! I think it is a good, healthy approach to life to realize that sometimes a good cry helps you to get a lot of old “poison” out of your system. I do not think we should go around with a sad look on our face, just waiting to burst out crying at the drop of a hat, but neither do I think it is wise to stuff all of the hurts and disappointments of life into our body and never give ourselves the permission or opportunity for a tearful release.
I have probably shed more tears in the last 10 years of my life than I did in the first 58. And, yes, if you do the math, you will know that I am 68 years old. I am not ashamed of the fact that I have shed tears. Every time it happens, I always feel better after the experience. It makes me feel more balanced, as well as emotionally healthy. Again, (and I have to repeat this for all of those individuals who are already in the John Wayne club), I am not talking about living with your feelings on the edge of your sleeve and bursting out crying on a daily basis. But, I am talking about the value of being vulnerable with a trusted friend or a safe environment and sharing some of the pain, hurt and sorrow that you have experienced in life.
Sometimes, around special occasions or the holiday season, many people feel extra sadness. I think birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions sometimes bring out a melancholy feeling of sadness in our heart that life has not turned out exactly as we had planned. That is okay. We will get through whatever we’re going through at the present moment and be better for it.
John Wayne was quite a character. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “Life is hard. It is even harder when you are stupid!” See what I mean? He was one tough guy and always had something strong to say. And, sometimes we need that! It can help us to develop strength, character, and integrity to move ahead and fulfill the tasks that lie in front of us. But, we are also human and when the tears need to come, let me encourage you to allow them to flow. It will be to your advantage to get the old “poison” out and to allow your body and emotions to heal, in order for you to experience the new growth that will come in your personal life.
Tip: You do not lose your ticket to the John Wayne Club if you cry!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm