Thursday, February 21, 2013

Learning to Use a Voice

It is something we all have to do at some point in life. Literally, and figuratively. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that we have to do this at many different times throughout our lives. We have to learn that God gave us a voice, and we should use it. How we use it is the big question.

I was reminded last week about my own - figurative - voice. Here I spend all this time talking about Lilli's voice, and how she can't verbally talk but she has a "voice," and how we are trying to help her use it. I am  passionate about explaining to others, in writing and in person, how Lilli has an opinion and wants to be heard even though she is not verbal. I want teachers and therapists everywhere to look at non verbal children in this way. Lilli definitely has a strong "voice."

I honestly have not given much thought to my own voice.

I guess I felt a little like I was yelling down a dark tunnel, thinking it was empty. Or maybe just full of spam. (Other bloggers will get that.) But I continue to yell because I need to get it all out. I did not know just how many people were listening on the other end. Maybe I will never know about all of them. But it does not matter. There are people listening.

It was so good to be reminded. I had a very humbling, precious moment where I felt a little like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," wasn't Christmas, and it had nothing to do with money, and I wasn't really questioning my existence...okay I guess it's not the greatest illustration. I thought of the movie because I think the best part is at the end, when George realizes that he has touched many other people's lives and never even knew it.  There is just nothing to say in a moment like that. You just take it all in and wonder at it all, how God brings people together through hundreds of seemingly random, different circumstances. But nothing is random. And I do not believe in coincidences. If only we all took more time each day to tell other people how they have made a difference in our lives. Even if it is small. How encouraged we would all be.

I have been writing this blog for a few years now, and I feel very blessed to hear from people I had no idea were reading this. I loved every comment on this blog and on Facebook. I received two phone calls from long-distance friends I had not spoken to in years. They called to tell me that they have been reading all along. I just did not know, that's all. I was very surprised, and more encouraged than I have felt in a long time. So thank you, to everyone who took the time to comment or call. It was a gift to me.

I have been thinking about my voice in our community and specifically in our church. Most times, I feel very small and insignificant, and mostly just plain old tired. I often wish that other people would advocate for families with children who have special needs. Meaning, people who don't have children with special needs, people who get a full night's sleep and lead more of a "normal" life. (There's my least favorite word again.) But it seems to be true that when a person feels passionate about something, that person is the one who can make the most difference. Our pastor says that when God puts something on your heart, He means for YOU to go and do it - not to go and tell someone else that "they ought to do something about it." Don't call the church and say that "they ought to take care of that situation." If it is on your heart, it is there for a reason, because you are that person who is supposed to do something about it.

See, I just sighed out loud to myself in this early morning dark kitchen.

Because I know that I have to go and do something. I have to go and do something that will be hard, but I can't not do it. I'll bet you squirmed a little or maybe sighed to yourself too when you read that. If you did, it's because you probably have something that bothers you too, and you wish somebody would just DO something about it. But you know that person is probably going to end up being you. Sorry to tell you that.

I will write about what I have to do another day. Today I want to end with this video clip of Lilli, who is learning to use her "out loud" voice. I believe that after you watch it, you will feel blessed in some way. This girl wants so desperately to speak, and it is incredibly difficult for her. Would you please watch this video, and say a prayer for Lilli, as she is trying so hard to practice and make these sounds and words come out? Here is the Youtube link in case it does not show up on your browser:

Thank you for reading. I will keep writing. I will keep telling my stories. I will tell stories about others as well. I hope it continues to encourage, enlighten, and bless everyone.

Morgan is trying to get Lilli to make the sounds "guh" for the letter G, say the word "me" and the sound "ticka ticka" for the word "tickle." Lilli says these sounds on her own so this is why we chose them, but she has trouble making the sounds come out "on command." This is due to speech apraxia. She is physically able to do it but has to work hard and really concentrate to do when when Morgan asks her. She is also a little distracted by me and camera shy. (Josh is climbing up the climbing wall making noise next to me while I'm trying to record.) She makes all the sounds Morgan asks, but softly, so you might need to turn up your volume. 

1 comment:

  1. Love. It. Made me smile so big. Sweet girl with her voice. Go Lilli!! <3