Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lost voice(s)

painting at Radiant Light

I have lost my voice. I lost it Sunday, and it is still gone.
I think it is called laryngitis or something like that.
It began with Sinus problems on Friday.
And now I also have vertigo.

It brought to mind, though other times in life
when I didn't have a voice or felt like my
voice was silenced. Have you ever felt that?

I have felt that often in my life, and I don't like that
feeling. It is a feeling of being smothered, it is a feeling of
shame, it is a feeling of helplessness, it is a feeling of powerlessness,
it is a feeling of isolation, it is a feeling of worthlessness.

I felt it as a girl growing up in the 60's.
I felt it as a teenager and a young woman in the 70's.
I felt it as a woman in the 80's.
I felt it as a woman in the 90's.
And I feel it as middle aged woman now.

Why are voices silenced?
Why are children told shush, now don't tell anyone?
Why are children told, it didn't really happen?
Why are children told, no one will believe you?

Why do you say, you are making it up?
Why do you say, you are too angry we don't want to listen to you?
Why do you say, what you have to say doesn't matter?
Why do you say, you are an older woman now,
it is time for the younger voices to be heard?

Why God am I then called to preach?
Why then do I feel like I have something to say?
Why then on Sundays, Wednesdays and other times
do I climb up to the pulpit to open my mouth to speak?
Why do some want my advice and want to know what I think?

Silenced voices
lost voices
shamed voices
angry voices
hurt voices

listen, to God all voices are heard.
To God all voices are meant to be heard.
To God my voice is heard.
To God your voice is heard


Mary Beth said...

This is wonderful, Abi. Praying for your voice and your (voice).

Anonymous said...

I hear you, lost voice. So much energy to silence our voices that it can be difficult to find it, use it, trust it.

On a humorous note, I once attended a workshop, weeklong, that I just hated. It was supposed to be grounded in centering prayer (and that part was good) but it also had a large portion devoted to a leadership training model that I really distained, too much propaganda, too much ...:just do these few steps and you too WILL be a sucessful church leader...yuck. Well I had a cold from the beginning, but before too long it turned into full blown laryngitis, complete loss of voice. I thought it was so funny, my body taking care of the fact that I didn't want to speak anyway, and really couldn't...that was one time I really enjoyed losing my voice.

Mostly though I have the usual sad tales of being a woman struggling to be heard. Not so much in the church I lead, but other church leaders, colleagues,etc. And I do really think about the ways I give my daughter voice or sadly conspire with society to devoice her (be quiet!...). I try to be thoughtful and intentional...it is important work to raise up the voices of girls and women. Thanks for sharing your poem and thoughts.

Abbey of the Arts said...

Thanks for this moving poem Abi. So true, those on the margins don't have room to tell their story. It feels like a lifelong journey to really reclaim that original voice, the lost song that dwells within us and to have the courage to sing loudly.

Sally said...

Abi this is beautifu- thank you... do hope you are feeling better soon.

"imagine the darkness in love with the light." said...

yes much thanks for this poem. i read it and it resonated so deeply in me. i read your blog and hope that i too one day will be as outspoken as you are. i am sorry that your bodly voice is gone. but when you blog that's another voice. and it's heard by many.