I Need to Scream
I was in line at the grocery store when I noticed the woman behind me suggesting to her young son that he go “check out the Easter stuff over there.” He immediately ran over to the display (a little too gleefully), ran back to tell her something and then ran over to the display again. I mentioned something about the energy level of youth. We laughed. Then as he became more rambunctious, a trait I have assigned to boys (my bad), I noted how I’ve appreciated having a girl to raise up. The woman then told me that her younger daughter was worse – that she ALWAYS has tantrums in the store and would have been on the floor screaming by now. (Yeah – don’t know what that is about but I wouldn’t have found that acceptable with any child of mine.)
The thought of tantrums was not at all intriguing. However, the thought of screaming or feeling the need to scream was provocative.
In my time “away” this past 10 months, I have limited what ministry “extras” I’m adding to my life and letting fall away those things whose end time has come. I have been intentionally watching/noticing the happenings around me and holding fast to my boundaries. I’ve been contemplative and introspective while trying to listen again to what the Holy Spirit is telling me. And the muck of things goes on – whether or not I am actively engaged in them. I mean I knew, intellectually, that that’s the way of the world. And it seems that the worse it gets, the louder my vision gets. My neck muscles are chronically constricted because of how often I’ve been shaking my head these days. And most, if not all of it, is out of my control – may not even be my business, but I can’t un-see what I have seen. I can’t un-member the experiences I’ve had. And it’s at this point that I realize I really need to scream.
I have feelings/opinions about what’s going on in our country right now, and I think I’m doing what I can (not that I can’t do more) to make my voice heard; to be in support of those on the front lines; to educate myself and others appropriately and advantageously. But I have been silent about the happenstances of my life that suck, lest I be perceived as lacking humility. Yet, if I’m to remain at least as reasonably healthy as my labs say I am, I really need to take my feelings about a greedy insurance industry that my paltry dollars cannot adequately affect and just scream to heaven. I need to scream about how the greed of opportunistic landlords who take 43% of my take home pay in exchange for a living space that in other parts of the country would cost half as much, has made me need to remind myself over and over that my self-worth is not tied to my ability to have any purchasing power or material possessions. I need to stamp my feet – one at a time and then together – as I scream about the ongoing injustice of wage disparity, sexism, racism and inconsideration that happens not just to me but to those whose lives are intertwined with mine and the interactions I must endure with those in positions of power who are unable, unwilling or who feel under-empowered to enact the change they actually can make.
So this becomes my platform within which I can envision myself taking hold of all that is in me. This is my screaming space. And even now I ask myself if I am having a tantrum or screaming because it’s deserved. Is the howl trapped inside of me a righteous howl?
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. NRSV Jeremiah 20:9
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? NRSV Micah 6:8