Writing hurts. Sharing a difficult truth takes courage. Reading your words aloud requires faith in your listeners. Honest self expression amazes. All of these need commitment. It has been my honor over the last four years to walk beside some special women and men who have made that amazing commitment, to express themselves with truth, skill and courage. This blog commits to showing you, the readers, the value in Celebrating Your Voice.
Do you remember all those school days when people hushed you? No talking, be quiet, you have nothing to say! Programmed for over a decade, we learn, we learn to hide our voice, keep quiet, and never share those innermost thoughts. It is dangerous, put on that happy face, all is fine, YOU know the line and the lie.
We get so good at concealing our true selves that many of us spend most of our lives trying to simply find ourselves. Some secret self so buried under tons of rubbish that sometimes we can never liberate that voice within, much less celebrate it.
A terrifying and liberating step led me to finding and ever so slowly learning to celebrate my voice. Not easily, not quickly, in no way painlessly, step by step I spoke my way out of the abyss of silence. With a baby step, I asked a friend about an inspiration. "Let's start a writers' group at church," I whispered. "Would you like to co-lead it with me." I could not even contemplate doing this alone. Thankfully she agreed and we started to grow a dream.
|Coleene and Linda at Aspiring Writers' Forum|
Like the smallest of mustard seeds, we started growing. A tender shoot arose and we took turns watering and fertilizing it. The subject of endless discussion and prayer between us, I so thank Coleene VanTilburg for daring to dream with me, together, united. And that miniscule little plant began to grow and we were so amazed.
I brought the idea to our church leadership, AND they said YES. Now we really were committed, but would anyone want to join us? We hoped that maybe one of two might, daring not to even think there would be more than a few of us to fill the six seats around the table reserved for us in the church library. The first steps of learning to celebrate our voices had begun.