Years ago, I had the privilege of attending a wedding where the bride and groom, as well as many of the attendees, were deaf. While the hearing folks were quiet during the service, others moved around making sounds unheard to them. They also clapped loudly when anything significant was signed—that was their “Amen”. It was a rich experience—one that will stay with me always. It was also a glimpse into a life much different from mine where vocal verbalization is a primary form of communication. Many of the people I spent that day with did not “talk” the way I do, but they weren’t unheard.
Not being heard is challenging for those who regularly walk through life that way. I’m not talking about people for whom verbal communication is physically impossible, but rather people who have the gift of voice. Even if you’re pretty confident and happy you might have felt, at times, like you weren’t really heard.
Maybe that was because you were in a relationship that didn’t lift you up.
Perhaps, you grew up in a family that made sure you were aware that you shouldn’t be heard.
It could have been that you were walking through life alone or with people who chose not to “hear” you or validate your voice.
When I think about the people who aren’t heard–both in parts of our world where persecution runs rampant and in our own back yard– it’s overwhelming.
Sadly, there are times when people lose their identities because they lose their voices.
One night, around the end of the second hour of teaching an organization class, my voice started faltering. By the time class was over, it was getting weaker. I’m used to talking (a lot) without any problem, and I’ve never had an issue like this unless I’ve been bona fide sick (which is rare). By Wednesday morning, it was worse.
(While I was trying to figure out the WHY of this voice loss, one of the things that occurred to me was that since I was recently in a tough situation, where I felt like I didn’t have a voice, perhaps I was physically manifesting that exact thing. I do, after all, know that thoughts become words and words become actions. Hmmmm.)
I did some research on what to do when you have laryngitis and the consensus was pretty much “shut up for a while”. When I’m not writing, I talk for a living most of the time. Not talking is really tough!
In addition to “resting the voice” when recovering from laryngitis, another note was “once you start talking again, don’t whisper—use your full voice.” That applies to the voicelessness we’re talking about today too. Don’t whisper, don’t get small, stay true to your full voice.
There are times our voices are loud and clear and there are those times when even we don’t believe what we’re saying. Often we forget to hear our own inner voice (spirit, gut feeling, intuition). We shut it out, or turn it off, because really listening would then require acting on what we hear.
Being honest and “real” about what’s going on in your own heart, and in your own house, is a good start to creating a home of peace. But before you can identify “what’s really going on”, you have to be willing to listen to the sound bites of your life. You have to take a few steps back and be objective. When I imagine a home that’s full of peace, the key ingredient is people who are able to be themselves, express their true feelings, unafraid to share what’s on their minds. If we can exist in a space where our inner and outer voices resonate with each other, and where we’re lifted up and heard, we’re taking a huge step to a PEACEFUL US, which as you know, leads to a peaceful home.
My “lack of voice” didn’t stop me from living my life. It was a full week with a lot of activity. I love to talk, but I also love to listen to what’s going on in other people’s worlds. What’s interesting is that I didn’t feel like I was really missing out on anything. In my silence there was a bit of expectation…pretty cool, right?
©2016 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. It’s not a coincidence that I chose to write about this subject on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who believed that ALL people should be heard. (it’s just a coincidence that my voice cooperated)
p.p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #44. Determine the path you want your life to take; too often we’re raised up to believe “this is what I’m supposed to/destined to/required to do. You are the mistress or master of your own destiny. Own that (and your right to be heard).