Voices in the Silence

voiceIf you have been following me this week you know that today I am in silent retreat.  Strangely, our only assignment for the silence is to write a poem about “Our Voice”.

I don’t know if I can write a poem about my voice but I certainly have been considering many things about voice since I was given the assignment.  

Walk with me through this maze of thought about voice. 

There are so many voices I have heard in my life which were voices of power and influence to my life.  Some were harsh and felt cold.  Some were loving and warm.  Some were kind.  Some critical, even vicious.  

There are voices I miss and can hear in my mind some days: Grandpa Mac’s laughter and joking, Grandma Guiler’s gentle approvals, Great Grandma Christie’s hospitality and joyous welcome, Dad’s stories, Bryan’s silly jokes and boisterous bellows.  

But how would I describe their voices to someone who has never heard them?  

There are some people I’ve known who had very distinctive voices.  One lady I think of from my home town had a very nasal sound to her voice but it was high pitched and sounded like a little child rather than a grown woman.  Even that doesn’t really explain the voice.  If people who knew her, heard her name, they would most likely immediately think of her voice and hear it in their heads but could they describe it?  

The principal of my school when I was a child had a very distinctive voice.  It was deep and booming but had laughter on its wings.  

Is there any way to describe a voice?  Does it sound like wind in the trees of fall, raspy through the crisp leaves?  Does it sound like a small brook in spring time, bubbling and gurgling over smooth river rocks?  Does it sound like the engine of a great train as it gains steam and readies for a journey.  Does it sound like the rusted hinge of a broken wooden fence?  

To describe a voice one might be more inclined to compare it to another voice.  She sounds a little like Miss Gulch in the Wizard of Oz or Scarlet from Gone with the Wind.  He sounds like Groucho Marx or Shawn Connery.  

Accents which you just heard when I mentioned people in that last paragraph are another way to describe voices.  Scenes from My Fair Lady and the phrase, “the rain in Spain falls gently on the plain” falling from the lips of Audrey Hepburn in her transformation from Cockney to High English, come to mind.  

Try as I might I cannot find a way to actually describe a voice, any voice let alone my own.  

I am so aware that my own voice sounds nothing to others like it sounds to me.  Sometimes people hear tones and judgment in my voice that are not there.  Sometimes they hear approval where there is sarcasm and sometimes sarcasm where there is approval.  There is such distance and bending from the intent of the speaker to the ear of the hearer.  The filters of the hearing of a voice are as different as the people who hear it.  They are filters of experience.  They are often filters clogged with pain and anger.  

The only way I can think to describe my own voice at all is to consider what I want to accomplish with it.  

When I speak I want you to know my loving.

When I sing hear my heart.

When I laugh let my laughter be medicine.  

When I comfort feel the softness of my hand on your forehead.

When I cry know I am working it through.

When I cheer know I will cheer whether you win or lose.  

When my sobbing lingers, my heart breaks but it will be mended.

When I protest my passion is ignited but my fierce anger is toward wrong 

When I encourage it is with hope and faith

Oh that my voice would be like water in the desert.  

The voice that brings peace to your mind, confidence to your soul and love to your heart.  


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (www.riverofhopeenterprises.com), I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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