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The Best Kind of Tears

Our BookByte contributor says she, “was weeping the best kind of tears, the kind that lifts your spirits and brightens your world.”
Photo: Andreas Praefcke, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Our BookByte contributor says she, “was weeping the best kind of tears, the kind that lifts your spirits and brightens your world.”

Hi, I’m Marcy McKay from Amarillo, author of the award-winning novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven. I’m excited to be a Radio Reader for High Plains Public Radio’s Book Club.

My second selection was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It’s about a Russian aristocrat sentenced in 1922 to a lifetime of house arrest in Moscow’s famed Metropol hotel. Granted, that’s much better to spend the rest of your breathing days inside the equivalent of the Ritz Carlton than prison, but never stepping outdoors again or face death is still deeply traumatic. The fictional character builds a new life within the hotel walls, while the true story of Russia’s tumultuous history unfolding over the decades. This book was beyond gorgeous.

I’m what you call a lazy reader, like LAZY with multiple Z’s, and didn’t realize the story was a whopping 462 pages long.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just watch the movie.

The film hasn’t started production yet.


I’m a happy person with a soul full of melancholy. It’s a constant tug-of-war inside, and that sorrow has been exacerbated the past few years. I reminded myself if I wanted this year to be different, then I need to show up differently in all areas of my life. That meant sucking it up and reading A Gentleman in Moscow.

By the end, I was weeping the best kind of tears, the kind that lifts your spirits and brightens your world. Count Alexander endures endless hardships during his years of house arrest, yet everything leads to such a perfect moment in the end for him and his beloveds that all his pain and suffering was worth it.

Most of us have never experienced such hardship as house arrest, but we’ve all known difficulties. My own life has found countless blessings since our house fire in 2017, but I will always carry the emotional scars from that experience. The smoke and water damage made our home a total loss. The new owners tore down the property and it’s now a huge yard with beautiful green grass and a strand twinkly lights overhead.

A friend told me that she attended a lovely outdoor engagement party on that very lawn for a couple soon to be married. The celebration was extra special because the bride’s first husband died tragically a few years before, leaving her widowed with young children. This was a perfect example of heartache blossoming into something beautiful and new.

It thrills me to think that my home, full of so many perfectly imperfect moments for 17 years, was the soil to mark this family’s new beginning. From hardship to happiness. From loss to love.

Everyone I know who’s honest enough to admit it has experienced something difficult since March 2020. Please take some time this week to connect the dots in your own life. What is something that at first seemed like a hardship, then later turned out to be a blessing in disguise? What you thought was an ending, turned out to be a new beginning?

Don’t be lazy like last year Marcy. If you want this year to be differently, show up differently for yourself. One way to do that is to inspire yourself by reading A Gentleman in Moscow. You’ll be glad you did.

Those are my thoughts. This is Marcy McKay, local author from Amarillo and Radio Reader from High Plains Public Radio. For more information, go to HPPR.org.

Spring Read 2023: In Touch with the World 2023 Spring ReadHPPR Radio Readers Book Club
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