When your faith-full correspondent lost her voice a week back, she had a revelation.
As she was forced to be the ears only in group conversations and point hopelessly at her throat when asked a direct question, mouthing “lost my voice” (or attempting a syllable and getting something sounding more like a strangled donkey on four packets a day), she pondered how much she disliked the experience.
To have no voice is to disappear a little.
When friends are milling and someone hollers over the din, “Who wants a cuppa?” your rasp dissipates into background noise of sniffs and laughter and footfall on floorboards.
When you answer the phone, the caller hello-hello-hellos until just before hang-up when they hear your fragile whisper.
Don’t feel sorry for me – I’m just saying that this was a silver lining moment; a revelation of what it is to be truly voiceless.
Last week, I was an unborn baby, a person living with disability, a child without parents, a woman with dementia.
I felt a minuscule speck of what it is to be truly voiceless.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (New King James Version).
All us hale and hearty sorts have more of a responsibility than to just be thankful for our good health.
“Thank you Lord for my health,” we might pray, or “Thank you Lord for sending my voice back!” as has been my prayer lately. But what benefit is health and voice if it is not used for good?
At the Flourish women’s event in Launceston recently, famous voiceover artist Robyn Moore (Blinky Bill, How Green Was My Cactus) told 400 women how powerful our words are.
She gave the example of a television ad (remember the Ajax Spray and Wipe ad – that was Robyn’s memorable voice!) by which the company has just 30 seconds to make an impression.
“Words are very, very powerful,” was her point.
I think we’re discovering that on new levels as every person with access to the internet has the opportunity to put their words out there, uncensored, on Facebook and Twitter and blogs and in response to articles and so on. Everyone has the chance to be heard.
And that is an empowering and wonderful thing.
So now, more than ever, we need to test those words, to ask ourselves whether they are being used to build up or tear down.
And some of us will go a step further and use the power of words for positive change, speaking for those who cannot.
For the unborn, for children, for the elderly, for the poor and for those living with disability.
A voice of love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV).
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As printed in The Examiner for Keeping the Faith column, Monday September 3.