There would be tissues left on the floor of the theater after performances of Les Misérables. Members of the production crew would have to clean them up afterwards, but that was actually a happy thing because it meant that the performances were really reaching the audience - causing them to cry. Some of us were teary backstage - watching Eponine die or "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from the wings - even though we'd seen those scenes over and over at rehearsals and performances.
I've been going to Good Friday and Palm/Passion Sunday Masses/Services for about thirty years. We listen to the events of the torture and death of Jesus - and we're stone-faced. It's part of the central story of our faith, but we don't express emotion about it. I'm not saying that people don't feel emotion (I'm assuming they feel a lot), but it's not part of our tradition to express that.
Our choir often sings "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" for either Palm Sunday or Good Friday. I have to work very hard to sing it at services without having tears running down my face.*
Many of the wonderful cast members of Les Misérables were also excellent in this winter's production of Jesus Christ Superstar. While watching, I was finally able to cry freely while watching the events of the Passion vividly acted onstage - and I wasn't the only one with tissues out.**
I've had various health problems for the last few months, and I had a few weeks where I felt too weak to leave the house at all (I was in the Predni Zone - like the Twilight Zone, but not as interesting). I had planned on singing in choir for the winter and spring. Instead, I only sang one Sunday between New Year's and Easter. I'm still slowly regaining my energy (my adrenal glands apparently decided to reappear last Monday, which means that I no longer have to eat every ninety minutes to keep my blood sugar from plummeting), but I'm not back to normal yet. Even though it exhausted me (and I had to keep swigging blood-sugar-enhancing orange juice throughout), I went to choir rehearsals the last two weeks because the music they were singing was so wonderful.
I finally sang again for the Easter service today! Again, I had to take two naps this afternoon because I was so exhausted, but I had a wonderful time. I was so happy to be singing at a service again that I had tears of happiness running down my cheeks for the first half of the Eucharistic prayer.
After being stuck at home for a large part of the last three months, my priorities seem to have changed. I accepted the tears as a heartfelt response to the blessing of being in choir and let them go their way.
* Okay, I don't always succeed.
** I threw mine out.