Flip the Script
Updated: Oct 4
“Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage” ~Smashing Pumpkins
I don’t know about you but I often go through phases where I feel powerful (“I’m going to change the world!!”) and then just as quickly I fall back into feeling somewhat helpless in the scheme of the world’s problems. There is just too much to do and I am only one person. Plus, how do you choose one thing over another? Children with cancer over children starving. The climate over homelessness. It’s hard to choose just one or two plights to focus on (which would make it much more doable).
The feeling of the weight of the world on your shoulders, the burden of not just current existence but what we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren is confining. It brings about this anxiety and frustration that I’m sure other generations felt (hello 60’s hippies!) but not with the urgency as we do today.
I grew up in the ‘90s when people didn’t hide their feelings anymore. They didn’t care as much about image or what people (especially adults) thought of us. We were different. We wanted to talk about the good stuff as well as the personal bad stuff that was once kept hush hush. We had people expressing their anger and frustration not only to their close circles but to the world. Gone were the days of Buddy Holly and in his and others’ place was Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Linkin Park. They spewed out what we all heaved inside. The ‘60s for sure had protest music (rightfully so) that expressed anguish in oppression to many groups of people as well as against the war but 90’s music hit you in the heart. We were the latchkey kids and Prozac nation. The ones that were told by their school administration that we were the worst they ever had (seriously happened at an assembly). We were accepting of one another no matter who we were, we expressed who we were through our writings, our dress, our conversations and how we questioned authority.
We’re now in our 40’s. We’re productive members of society. We are parents, co-workers, even presidents of corporations. I think we changed the perspective of bringing aspects of our youth into our adulthood and showed how this expression and care could work productively and positively.
However, the freedom that we felt has added to the stifling we feel now. We feel like rats in a cage. Some of us are aware of the fact that we’re held within the confines of society’s metal bars and are conscious of the helplessness that comes with this knowledge. The door to our cage seems open but in fact there are the hidden lasers ready to surge an electric shock when we attempt to step out Aunt Lydia style. But others are there struggling along on the wheel not realizing that their doors are open completely and they can just walk out. They never question that something just might be off. They’re comfortable in not knowing.
Some will walk out and join while others will stay or be left behind to shake their fists at the brave.
When Jesus went to the temple in Matthew 21:12-13, He saw what had become a complacent acceptance of a market on the steps of the temple. It was a personification of human beings. He didn’t choose to buy some fruit and saddle up in acceptance. He was angered and drove everyone out. He said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a robbers’ den”. He went on to do what someone should do in the temple. He prayed, He healed, He allowed the children to shout their enthusiasm while ignoring the indignation of the chiefs and elders. I mean, kids these days!
But, what is our world if not His Father’s house? Can you imagine a place less Holy than the creation that He made with His hands out of love? We’re living in the largest temple there is. It’s called Earth. We’re selling racism, inequity, greed, lust and so many other things right on the steps of His house of prayer.
So many people are dealing with this internal struggle that began long ago but wasn’t outwardly questioned. There certainly were people, protests, movements and positive changes during those years before and after but we’re starting to enter back into this space where complacency just isn’t ok anymore. We’re breaking out of our cages with the same ferocity that Jesus had when He saw the corruption in the temple. We’re sharing the good news with those caged rats that plugged their ears with the knowledge. Some will walk out and join while others will stay or be left behind to shake their fists at the brave.
About: Sosie Matosian resides in Virginia with her husband, three children and two dogs. She has her degree in Biblical Studies from University of Northwestern with additional emphasis and certificate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is passionate about sharing her faith with others and brings a personal perspective to the struggles one might face in their journey walking to and with Christ.