Dedicate the Rage, the Grief

I begin with gratitude.  Today, it is for discovering the sound that cardinals make, the scarlet red male ones.  I’ve never known the particular call of any bird. But today, I watched him sing on the edge of a roof, alone, a short, high pitched arc, again and again, blessing me.

Years ago, I coined the expression “Dedicate the Rage” to signify a constructive way of dealing with this intense emotion, a fire ignited by recurrent acts of injustice in bald and wig-covered ways. I advocated for the practice of dedicating the energy of that fire to an act of liberation or healing. Rather than exacerbate our suffering with flames of destruction and death, make that fuel work for us.  And by ‘us’, I mean those systemically targeted for exploitation and dehumanization. Those whose breath is constricted, rendered shallower day by day, or cut off in seconds, our necks in the clench of determined hands. 

Today, I add grief. I could have added it before, but I don’t think I had crystallized back then how tied hurt, grief, and rage are.

In this time of a pandemic, I, like many others, implode with grief and outrage. The tears, the outbursts that come pale to the magnitude of feelings. How can we not mourn the loss of so many who’ve suffocated, with no family at their bedside to ease the irrevocable separation with reminders of having loved well and been loved? How can we not feel the poignancy of the nurses, doctors, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, and janitorial staff who risk their own mental and physical health to fight off germs and the arms of death from clutching the ill? Those who stand in as much as they can for the patients’ families, who wear tomorrow the gowns and masks they wore today, who separate from their own families within their homes or give up going home altogether.  

And in contrast to these vessels of generosity, competence, and kindness, some coming from far away to help, stands the head sociopath in charge, gazing at himself, accusing healthcare workers of stealing equipment they plead for, lying by the minute, and failing to initiate any national efforts to help. Willing to step over fields of bodies extending as far as he and his cronies find necessary to hold on to domination, feed their greed, and mask their emptiness. Killing off any remaining bodies of honesty and accountability around them, preparing for more thievery in the holiness of daylight.

 The election at the top of their list.

This is a traumatic and transformational time, a reckoning. Who can we depend on to rid the federal government of this spreading malignancy?  We are the ones. We have power, if we dedicate our grief and rage, come together and organize.  We people with a collective consciousness, those who suffer and those who ache when witnessing others suffer, can figure it out.  We who value integrity, equity, and the well being of our planet, must begin to heat up a giant cauldron with our rage and grief, to get it bubbling with ideas of how.  It is part of our healing to take action. Our survival, our thriving depend on it.


4 thoughts on “Dedicate the Rage, the Grief

  1. There are moments in history that define who we are individually and as a people. For my generation in the U.S. it has been the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement (Vietnam), the fight for open admissions at CUNY and affirmative action, the Puerto Rican independence movement, the Black Liberation movement, the African Liberation movement, the anti-police brutality movement, and the many other struggles for peace and justice. This generation and those of us who remain from previous struggles will be defined by our response to this horrific pandemic unleashed by capitalist greed causing environmental destruction and the thirst for profit before people. We must turn rage into action. “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

    1. Thank you for this beautifully written essay that reminds us of how important we are to make a change. These are terrible times for all of us, and it’s important to honor the spirit that dwells in each of us.

  2. Thank you so much for this beautifully written, moving essay. We are the ones who can make things change. Thanks for reminding us of that.

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