I met a fellow this week that came to me for an answer to that question. Why do these hymns I love and know by heart always cut to the chase and bring tears to my eyes?
All I could say is that I've experienced this song/tears response as well. In fact, I had an unexpected experience with this "Pavlov's response" this past Sunday.
Before worship, we were practicing a song for the prelude that is called, "Love can build a bridge" by the Judds. For those that know it, you probably understand why it pulls on the heartstrings. I invite you to take a moment to watch this video for the song here:
This song is new to me and I may have heard it year ago when it first came out but last Sunday it's theme of connection, hope and the struggle for unity really hit home to the emotional shortcut that so often through the medium of music brings tears to my eyes.
In chatting with this gentleman about music and tears I asked if I could sing the chorus of this song with him. He graciously agreed and by the end of the verse we both had tears in our eyes.
Music helps to build a bridge to the tender parts of us that we try to put away. We want to be strong and at times tears don't seem to communicate strength in the way we'd most desire. But the truth is, that it is when we are vulnerable that we grow as people and become stronger.
I may not have a scientific answer as to why music and emotion run so close in our human experience - but I know that this phenomenon is one that I'm thankful for; tears and all.
PS. What song is your emotions shortcut that bring your own strong response? Feel free to share it in the comment section. Thanks.
Lyrics to Love can build a bridge by the Judds