How I Will Use My Voice In Troubled Times


The last few weeks have left me feeling weighed down.

The obvious trigger is the anniversary of Elliott’s birth. I spent much of June 3rd and 4th remembering his story, from finding that there was no heartbeat until the time that he was delivered, still, into our arms.

But there has been so much other heaviness.

Reactions to Caitlyn Jenner. Reactions to Josh Duggar. Reactions to McKinney, Texas. Reactions to Charleston, South Carolina.

In the past weeks, I have seen people speaking without listening to the marginalized, the abused, the disenfranchised.

People are shouting, “Hear me! See me!” at every turn, but their shouts seem to be drowned out by voices that have been amplified through the years. Voices that say that the voices that aren’t heard are that way because they are too perverted, too untrustworthy, too unruly, too angry.

In January, I said that my year would be guided by the word “voice.” But with voices louder than my own speaking so much hatred, fear, anger, I’m not sure how to go forward. I was talking to Rich last night and said that I don’t know how to speak into these situations, if I even have anything to say any more.

And I don’t have anything to say to Caitlyn or to those abused by Josh Duggar or the young woman in the bikini in McKinney or the survivors of the shooting at Emmanuel. I don’t know them, I can’t speak to them. And I can’t counter the voices that speak diminishing, hurtful words to them – telling them that they deserve the pain that they receive.

But I can use my voice to say, “I’m here, tell me what you have to say,” to the people who are crying to be heard. I can use my voice to tell others that the lives of trans men and women matter. That the lives of abuse victims matter. That the lives of black men and women matter. I can use my voice to pray what sometimes feel like feeble prayers that we can love better, that we can listen better.

We need to raise our voices during troubling times. But often our voice needs only to be raised to ask how we can listen and then act.

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