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  • Erik Hatch

Do Emotions Make You Feel Alive?

My tears had dried up.

Close to 15 years ago, my mom died. It was the hardest thing I had ever gone through – and soon after her funeral, I noticed that my usual teary self was no longer. Emotions didn’t hit me quite like they used to. I had seemingly grown rigid.

I was an uber-emotional kid growing up. I would cry at the sign of other people crying. I would cry from pain. Every Hallmark commercial left me as a blubbering mess. I would develop a giant lump in my throat and my eyes would well with tears whenever I spoke about something I had passion for. My sensitivity was heightened around every corner. But once I lost my mom, I grew an edge I didn’t think was possible.

There was about a 7 year stretch I went without crying. Sure, I had moments that choked me up a bit – but my tear ducts had seemingly forgotten how to function. It wasn’t until I was overridden with feelings of messing up and insecurities that brought on the tears I had held in for so long.

Stronger I grew again – having faced those feelings years ago – and up until 2.5 years ago, I had again thought that my tears were a thing of the past. However, life happens and I found myself completely broken apart. As my wife consoled me, I wept uncontrollably in her arms. In the following weeks and months, I had moments where my eyes welled up – but again, I had grown cold.

Then the birth of my daughter Finley came last year – and again, I found that my tear ducts worked. What used to be such a normal occurrence (crying) was now very few and far between. I’m not saying I want to go back to the person that would cry at the drop of a hat – but I miss feeling those emotions. Truthfully, I am afraid that my heart had hardened. And I’m not interested in having really thick skin. This world is far too impactful to keep those feelings at bay.

Last month I found myself at the Fargo Theater, watching my dear friend Mark J Lindquist (#asiansinatra)

perform his first ever show with the Mark J Lindquist Big Band. We talked about this show for months leading up to it – and his excitement was palpable. And in the show, Mark certainly didn’t disappoint. He poured every ounce of passion into his performance – and those of us in the crowd felt it. I beamed with pride for my friend as he followed his dreams that night.

And then – he sang the last song. Mark had put on a giant, dazzling show for 2 hours – covering tunes from some of the greats like Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, and Tony Bennett. But the last song had nothing to do with glitz and glamour. Instead, it was fueled with sincerity and love.

Mark spoke directly to his parents – and thanked them for sticking with him amidst all his failures and shortcomings. He was as sincere as I’d ever seen him – and he didn’t break his gaze from his parents during his entire performance of “My Way.”

I sat across the aisle from his mom and dad – and they radiated with love. As I watched him sing the words he so passionately believed – my eyes welled with tears. After they welled – they then poured. I had waterworks a plenty streaming down my face. I was both shocked and yet happy!

What had hit me so hard? Was it watching Mark live out a dream? Absolutely. Was it experiencing a moment of connection between parents and their child? Without doubt. Was it jealousy for Mark having parents to sing to, while I had been orphaned at the age of 21? Certainly. Was it inspiration overwhelming me to do things “my way?” Without question.

I want to feel that again. I want to have such passion and inspiration in my life – that I can’t help but weep. I want to inspire and I want to be inspired. I want to watch people live out their dreams – and I want to live out my own. I want to have more kids. I want to take huge risks – and trust that God will be ever-present. I want to feel ALIVE.

I’m eager to cry again. Emotions make me feel alive.

Erik Hatch

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