Monday, December 1, 2014

Losing my voice


When Cheryl and I lived in North Dakota, I lost my voice 2 or 3 times.  Completely.  I’d never experienced laryngitis before.

I’d wake up in the morning and feel like my vocal cords were wrapped up in a blanket, and then I’d walk around for a few days whispering to people or writing out messages on paper.

It was embarrassing, especially at work where I was still meeting new people.  Here I was trying to make a good first impression, and the only thing coming from my mouth was an empty speech bubble.

Flickr photo by Tim Morgan

I felt powerless.  There were all of these really important things I wanted to say, but I couldn’t.  I had to remain silent.

A few years later, when our family was living in West Texas, I was asked to lead an upcoming Air Force parade.

Let me rephrase that.

I was a student at a military training base, and I was ordered to lead an upcoming parade, a painful task unless one happens to be an extreme extrovert or an aspiring Shakespearean actor.  Safe to say, I saw the task of shouting out commands to a horde of airmen as daunting.

And, as you may have guessed, the “shouting” part of this caused me some problems.  After the first practice at the parade grounds, I began to lose my voice.

In order to help myself, I harkened back to my days of high school chorus and started doing vocal warm-ups sessions every morning in the shower.

I wasn’t quiet about it, and I got on Cheryl’s very last nerve, but I think it helped.

me me Me ME Me me me
la la La LA La la la

I was able to keep my voice and led the parade (and I only forgot a couple of my lines).


And in the end, I learned a valuable lesson from all of this …

I would rather have a voice than not have a voice.

***

Through the years, I have found myself in places—churches, jobs, communities—where I didn’t feel like I had much of a voice.  Have you ever experienced that?

And the deal is … I want to have a voice.  I want to have opportunities to speak up and be heard.  I want to be able to disagree—hopefully with some love and grace sprinkled in—and for people to say, “That’s okay.  You’re okay.  Keep talking.”

Isn’t that desire—to speak and be heard—within all of us? 
 
And I don’t want to just be a talker.  I want to listen as well.  I want to hear and to understand the words and thoughts and stories of a wide-range of others who are using voices …

… given to them by God.

***

“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice …” – Psalm 116:1

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