I’m going to do it. I’m going to do one of those things I said I would never do. I’m going to start a post with the definition of a word. Ahhck! I feel so uncreative. So weak. So … so insipid. But here it goes.
The word is clamor. Dictionary.com defines clamor as:
1. a loud uproar, as from a crowd of people: the clamor of the crowd at the gates.
2. a vehement expression of desire or dissatisfaction: the clamor of the proponents of the law.
3. popular outcry: The senators could not ignore the clamor against higher taxation.
4. any loud and continued noise: the clamor of traffic; the clamor of birds and animals in the zoo.
verb (used without object)
5. to make a clamor; raise an outcry.
verb (used with object)
6. to drive, force, influence, etc., by clamoring: The newspapers clamored him out of office.
7. to utter noisily: They clamored their demands at the meeting.
Now, having defined the word, I confess: I clamor. It seems to be my word of the week, or perhaps the month, or – God, help me – my life. Clamor. That’s what I do. And maybe that’s not a bad thing. At least not all the time.
May Wright Sewall, a suffragist from Indianapolis, once read a petition she was about to sign regarding temperance. The petition stated that those who signed that petition would agree not to clamor for more political or civil rights. At that, Sewall declared, “But I do clamor.”
She was not content with the conditions that were put upon women of that time. So she refused to sign the petition, and she continued to clamor. Thankfully so. She became an instrumental force for change in this city.
Unlike Sewall, however, my clamoring is not so civic minded. My clamoring is more personal. More internal. I defined the word because of the emphasis put on the noise, uproar and outcry. That’s exactly what is happening inside of me. As I travel the road of healing from my divorce, I find that there is a constant outcry inside. An uproar that things are not like they should be. Or maybe I’m not yet as I should be.
This week I was hit by another wave of grief. I had a doctor’s appointment in the building where my ex-husband and I used to go for my OB check-ups. As I walked into the building, I was flooded with memories of those times when we were best friends, excited about the future as we added to our family. Now I was entering the building alone for a procedure that had me fairly concerned. The contrast was profound. At first I tried to ignore the pain. But when I was back in my car, alone and quiet, I let the mourning commence again. The tears came in a steady stream and I felt the clamoring begin… the “vehement expression of desire or dissatisfaction.”
Funny that the definition uses the words “desire” and “dissatisfaction.” Clamoring goes both ways. This week, while my boys have been with their father, the clamoring inside has been far more noticeable. At times I’ve tried to rise above it, to suck it up or to learn how to be content. During other moments I have tried to claw out of it by various means that are not healthy or helpful. Mostly what I’ve discerned is that the deep longing is not going away. And that’s okay. It’s okay to want more. It’s a sign that I’m still healing. And it’s an indication that the God who loves me fiercely is not going to let me stay the way I am. In fact, I believe it’s the gift of his spirit that allows me to feel the dissatisfaction AND the desire to be more.
More than the woman I think I am sometimes.
More than a divorcee.
More than broken.
More than a friend.
More than my smile.
More than middle-aged.
More than a mother.
More than my losses.
More than a writer.
More than my mistakes.
More than even my victories.