In one of my personal training sessions this morning, I had to chastise a client with Parkinson's disease to continue diligence in his exercises. While my primary challenge is to help him retain his strength, balance and coordination, his vocal exercises are equally important. Regrettably, Parkinson's excels at something the noise of the universe constantly threatens to - stripping its victim of the ability to be heard.
In this age of technology, the ability to speak, shout, sing, pray, protest, hate, love and give thanks is exponentially amplified. For me, this heightens a sense of responsibility to steward my words. When my one small voice is heard above the cacophony, I want it to humor or heighten, to encourage or edify, to challenges and perhaps, just perhaps, make a change.
A humorous aside, my 15-year-old still has his 5th-grade voice as his voicemail message. The high squeak of puberty has aged into deeper, mellower tones that blend in with his older classmates. I find great humor at the thought of one of the many girls likely vying for his attention reaching his voicemail and shrieking in laughter with her girlfriends as they realize they haven't called the wrong number. Having said that, I'd best make a recording of his voicemail before he leaves school, as word of this blog will likely have a red-eared young man making some changes to his iPhone.
The ability to be heard and to be heard for what you mean to say is invaluable. Dad Holmes, who is dearly missed as we gather to give thanks, devoted his entire adult to engineering sound. He believed one of the most important gifts to give is that of being heard. Whether in post-World War II Japan, pre-Soviet invasion/Taliban Afghanistan, or in a pew in a local church, Dad wanted people to hear and be heard.
As we hurl into the holiday season with a world swirling in chaos, this might be our one little chance to be heard. When I asked Mr. PQ what he wanted to say, his reply was simple. "Tell them how deeply we appreciate the craftsmen and women that strive tirelessly to bring beauty and art to our little corner of the world." As the violent people of the world sign their actions with a wicked flourish, we are thankful for the quiet pride in loving your friends and family, putting in an honest day's work, stewarding what's been given to you and valuing the art and beauty that is conveyed by our craftsman's signature.