JOY SYLVESTER-JOHNSON: A Visceral Prayer

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Joy Sylvester Johnson

I had forgotten that one of the best gifts you can give yourself is a good, red eyed, sniffling nose, breath catching, shoulder shaking cry.

Today, because I could, I watched a soapy B movie where the lovers die. I couldn’t hear their scripted words as they said their goodbyes because of the honest to goodness sobbing of a woman in the room. I am a very loud crier.

I had been holding back this tsunami for weeks.

There is an old Russian saying, “The gate keeper of the cemetery cannot cry every time there’s a funeral.” But I have a feeling, even that poor ole soul, occasionally had to let her rip.

Today I cried for each one who has had to prematurely say their last goodbye. Today I cried for all those friends and kin who are separated by a great divide. Today I cried for all those betrayed by institutions they trusted. Today I cried because of the fear and hatred that has become so culturally inbred we usually deny it even exists. Today I cried because for awhile I lost my song. Today I cried for all the others who need to cry, but will not, or perhaps worse —cannot.

A good cry leaves you lighter. A good cry makes its own rainbow. A good cry allows you to embrace the great sorrow that is heavier than any one event or personality. A good cry, observed only by God and a curious chihuahua, is a sane way to acknowledge a great sorrow when words are just not up to the task.

One might say a good cry is a visceral prayer.

I guess that’s why they call it a “good” cry.

Joy Sylvester-Johnson