In a Word: Clamor

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. 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.

Something for which I will never stop clamoring: coffee.

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.

More than.


Categories: Divorce, Faith, Marriage | Tags: , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “In a Word: Clamor

  1. Lisa

    Just got to tell you that I love you! Thanks for this gift of you.

    • lynnhouse

      I love you, too, and long for time with you. When, when, when?

  2. Matt

    Wonderful. The daily battle of rebuilding is rough. Relentless memories and treading ground infused in our former lives can twist the thorns. But your take on this gave me some much-needed perspective. I am not a prisoner.

    • lynnhouse

      We are so much more than prisoners, you and I. Let’s not forget that. The twisting of thorns is exactly what it feels like some days though. Hoping for less days like that and more days where we feel unadulterated joy.

  3. Mike

    This reminds me of a modern Psalm…your grieving heart reflects that of David as he hid his annointed head from the king he served. It’s a good clamor…sincerely conceived from converging circumstances that are confusing and lined with fear. Praying for you…it seems to be all I’ve got to offer these days.

    • lynnhouse

      True prayer, someone coming to the Lord on my behalf is hardly something I take lightly. It’s a great gift. Unfortunately we often act as if it’s the least we can do, rather than the best we can do for our friends. Thank you!!!

  4. Kate H.

    Painfully honest, Lynn. Your honesty is what makes your writing so good. Hang in there, girlfriend. Prayers to you. And also props to you for your humor – love that you are so pained by starting a post with defining a word. I remember making that same promise not to do that myself many years ago. But it worked here! 🙂 (I clamor too, I must say. And I don’t see an end in sight. We are not alone.)

  5. Lynn, your words about the doctors office re-stimulating the sadness of your loss is exactly what has been happening to me. Just when I think I am finally getting to be “OK” with the death of my wife. Something just hits me out of nowhere. This time it was seeing the flowers she had planted just now blooming. I am thrown into a deep mourning. The tears come and I can’t even speak anymore. It’s as if I haven’t made any progress at all. But I have come to understand that this is the way it will be for quite a while. My dear Lynn, I do pray for you every day. I am sad with you. That is one of the things friends do for each other.
    Please keep writing.

  6. Sometimes I think the sense of clamoring that I feel is an ungratefulness, an inability to be satisfied with the blessings that clearly are part of my life. Yet, I clamor too — though I’ve never defined it as such. I wonder, when does clamor turn from being a healthy and necessary tool for growth into a selfish cry for more, more, more? I’m not questioning you here, but myself.

  7. Tom P

    Clamoring is like breathing, try stifling it for a while for some real discomfort. I think in recovery we sometimes want a feeling of absolute acceptance that drowns out our natural feelings of loneliness and sadness which crop up from time to time. ‘Acceptance is the answer to all our problems’ is only partially true. Getting to ‘acceptance’ is hard work, suggests spiritual reliance on a higher power, humility, honesty, regular contact with like minded people who share the same outlook.
    Or another thought, is that your SAD is kicking in. I know mine has been, right on time, once August starts and the kids go back to school.
    Love you
    Tom P

  8. Just me…clamoring for more of your writing. It’s a balm for the soul.

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