The Struggle for Sound

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“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul”

Kate Chopin

Everyone has a voice; whether quiet or loud, whether it’s through speech or sculpture, singing or sketching, cooking or caring – everyone has a voice. We’re lead to believe that he who shouts the loudest is heard; is powerful – has influence. I’m not sure I agree; it’s sound that shapes us. Just this morning I was playing (on YouTube, not for real – now that would be awesome!), Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ from his violin concertos. I closed my eyes and allowed the silvery notes to cascade over me; my children looked on and asked “are you OK Mum?”, I answer with a smile “Yes, just allowing the sound to connect with my soul”, they laughed lovingly and knowingly. That’s what sound does – it connects, it moves, it changes & it challenges us.

“A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.” ~  Barry Neil Kauffman

Our voice, influence and impact is important to us – for some this is in the political arena, in business or the work place, for others it’s in at the school gate, in the home or within marriage (and everything in-between). We want to be heard and we want that hearing to go to the heart. That’s where change happens.

We all have a voice

I guess I never knew I had anything to say – we live this lie of having to ‘live life’, prove ourselves perfect before we can pass anything on, before we could every deem our story as important or significant. Brene Brown calls it ‘hustling for worthiness’ – trying to find our place, our voice and our meaning in all the wrong places when it’s right there – within us. God’s design is for growth and multiplication in everything He created therefore we have a responsibility to use the seed (the sound) that God has deposited with us; to grow what we know by sowing it into others.

You cook, you sing, you write, you create, you make, you mend, you give of yourself over and over again; and this is called ‘sound’. Sound spreads, shatters and impacts places we can never reach with our own understanding or abilities. But God. He takes our ‘sound’ and makes it His – uses it for His glory. Nothing is insignificant, nothing is ordinary.

I don’t think I every actually ‘lost it’, you know, shouted until I was in my first year at University and this guy who lived on the middle floor of my halls of residence got me REALLY mad and I stunned myself with the volume of my voice; actually that’s a lie – I do remember a ‘raised voice’ occasion with at my Mum at the age of 16 stressing to her the point that I was 16; but I can’t remember why, it’s never important afterwards is it? You see I didn’t come from a shouty house at all. My parents would have ‘heated discussions’ after we’d gone to bed and I knew it was serious if my Dads voice got lower and lower – but never shouting, that was never part of the culture of our home. Sound was a part of the culture of my home growing up. The sound of my Mum worshipping whilst washing dishes, radio 4 murmuring from the dining room as my Dad sipped on his tea, conversation with neighbours and friends who regularly popped by, children’s voices and squeals from the garden, life lived around the meal table, the silence of the countryside; I loved the simple sounds of my childhood.

I was always kind of shy. I was the kind of kid who had to be prised from my mum, screaming, in an attempt to leave me in the church crèche for the duration of the 30 minute sermon; I panicked and fought if my parents tried to pass me to a loving aunt or a family friend. With much prayer and patient parental perseverance I came through this stage.

“I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice”  Shakespeare

I found my voice as a teenager and sang my way into adulthood  – just as I was beginning to think I was the only non-creative in my family as I couldn’t ‘draw’, God brought alongside me a woman who found the end of the vocal thread within me and determined within herself to gently pull, pull & pull until the notes made sense and my heart recognised the seed of the sound that would form who I am and who I continue to become; through song I found my voice.

But there’s always something to hide from, to cower away from – things, people or situations that mute our message and mock our attempts to be heard.

And here I find myself; wife and mother of 4, home educator, pastor and trainee crafter of words. I’m a recently self-discovered introvert seeking soul silence in the midst of a beautiful cacophony of life and love and laying down everything I thought I was.

God gives us all a voice but he also gives us the right environment to use it. This can vary from the workplace to the world but we all have something to say. God gives us all a soap box and asks us to step upon it in the right season at the right time

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1-2 NIV)”

I have learnt that the sound that God has placed within me is for purpose and will be outworked in a unique way. I have learnt to be confident of this very thing that He who has begun a great work in me will continue it until completion. I have learnt that God tunes, and forms my voice for His glory and in His timing.

I have learnt that everyone has a voice; and God in His infinite creative way expresses this differently through us all.

Let’s attune our ear to those around us – everyone has a voice

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