Like so many other things in life, it’s easy to take for granted that we speak. Only if something hinders, compromises or otherwise impairs our ability to talk do we realize how much we use our voices. Of course, there are many other ways of communicating and not everyone is capable of vocal sound. But speech is primary for most of us. And we all know people who enjoy using their voices! Chatty friends and blustering bosses, long-winded salespersons and attention-starved children. And what a range we humans have to play with! Deep grumbles and loud shouts, tender whispers and cooing lullabies, commanding barks and impassioned cheers! What a blessing God has given us!
But God knows the power of speech! God spoke and creation came into being (Genesis 1). A bush burst into flame and offered God’s name (Exodus 3). A voice thundered and Isaiah responded (Isaiah 6). John the Baptist self-identified as the voice in the wilderness shouting out for straightened paths (John 1). A voice in a vision declared God’s gracious residency with humankind (Revelation 21).
Speech is a catalyst. Speaking interrupts silence and the unknown becomes known. In her book Full Voice; the Art and Practice of Vocal Presence Barbara McAfee identifies five “elements” of the human voice, each with a unique “color.” She insightfully understands the voice as a powerful instrument deeply connected to who we are. She writes,
Your voice is much more than the sound you hear coming out of your mouth every day. It is a broadcast system sending messages to the world about who you think you are, a random assemblage of vocal habits that may or may not serve you well.”
Barbara invites us to learn to “paint” with the rich range of vocal colors available to us. She encourages us to understand the instrument of our voice so it will serve us well. She has much to say about speaking! I hope you’ll be part of the “Beating the Winter Blahs” weekend February 8th & 9th not only hearing her words but experiencing your own speaking (and singing!) in exciting new ways!