Monday, September 25, 2006

voice

Everyone wants a voice. At least everyone wants to be heard in some way. It may not be audibly. It may be visual. You could argue, I suppose, that visually means that they want to be seen. I don’t think so. I think that they really want to be heard and if seen equals heard for them, then that’s just fine by them. You may not agree, but this is my blog so I get to be heard at the moment. If you want to be heard then you could always respond. I simply mean that people want to know that they’ve had influence or that they’ve been recognized for a contribution that may last beyond their natural lives or at least beyond their immediate circle.
Visual artists want to be heard. They have a message. They want their work to communicate it. They want you to listen. Writers obviously want to be heard. Teachers want to be heard in order to convey a lesson. Lawyers want to be heard to convey truth, …or not. People who have bumper stickers want to be heard. They want their views and ideologies known. Protesters and parents, ball players and baristas are all trying to communicate something about themselves, their team, their authority, whatever. They want to be heard.
I will confess that my belief in the concept of “heard” is based solely and selfishly on personal experience and observation. You may feel differently. That is your right. However, if you feel differently, and feel it strongly enough, you would tell me, because after all, you’ll want to be heard. Anyway, I also believe that this desire to be heard goes all the way back to the dawn of creation in the garden known as Eden. God wanted to be heard as creator and so He spoke everything into being. Satan wanted to be heard as preeminent, so he spoke as a snake that, except for in Narnia, should have no voice. Eve wanted to be heard as a pair so she approached Adam with the forbidden. And Adam wanted to be heard as innocent so he passed blame before God. And so it goes. King George wanted to be heard, Adolf Hitler wanted to be heard, Joseph Stalin wanted to be heard, Chairman Mao wanted to be heard, Fidel, George, Saddam, Osama, and everyone on the current world stage wants to be heard. Andy Worhol wanted to be heard. Maya Angelou and Pearl Jam want to be heard. Billy Graham wants to be heard. I want to be heard. And I want to know why? What is it that cries out within us to make us want to cry out to see if someone is listening?
I’ve written before about a desire for significance. I think that this explains only some of it. Some of those who read this stuff have told me that they have some degree of agreement with the significance thing. I think that there is still something more. There is a magic that is deeper than the deep magic before the dawn of time. It has something to do a bit with the story of the prodigal son, or the prodigal God, however you choose to read it. From the dawn of time, when our fabric was woven in the depths of God’s design, He has been calling to us. We have wandered, we have stumbled, we may even have lost our way, but all along, throughout our existence, the still small voice is calling to the depths of our being. And the voice that we seek is the same one that Abraham, Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and all those others recorded in history who, on hearing, leaped within themselves and yelled “Here I am”. We all want to yell “Here I am” just as if we were a child, lost in the overwhelming expanse of women’s wear in the local department store, hearing our mothers voice over our panic. All of us find a way to declare “here I am”.
Unfortunately, like Adam, Eve, and those of us who have followed behind them, we sometimes yell to the wrong things and for the wrong reasons, even using wrong methods. What I mean is that the methods may be destructive. It’s not very PC to state that certain things may be wrong or right, but believe me, sometimes they just are. I’ve not always yelled to declare “here I am” to the right source of my identity. I’ve been known in less than stellar days to yell to the world of success, financial and otherwise, to find my identity in respect. I’ve been known to yell to popularity to find my identity in parties and intoxication. I’ve been known to yell to recognition in my various professions. I’ve not yelled in appropriate ways or appropriate times and I know this to be true because I have also yelled to the voice that calls me home. I know what it feels like to be identified by the one truly searching for me and my best. I know what it is like to be lost and I know what it is like to be found. You can argue all you want about right, wrong, truth, error, and all that we waste our time arguing about. What you can’t argue with is outcome. I see it everyday. I see the outcome of trying to be heard by that which can never really hear you. I see it and it’s hurt and empty, and tragic, ultimately. I also have the privilege of seeing the outcome of yelling to the only one who can truly hear, because He created us. It’s comfort, and care, and peace. I’ve seen them all. I’ve lived them all. I know what it is to have a voice.

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