The Power of One Voice
I sat in the garden listening to a blackbird, his beautiful song soaring over the sound of traffic, as people returned home from a day at work. I couldn’t see him at first and then I spotted him, high up on a chimney stack, he looked so small and yet what power was in his ‘evensong’.
As I listened, I wondered about the power of a single voice. Which voices do we listen to and why? Do we only listen to those voices that express similar views or beliefs to our own and switch off to the voices that challenge our thinking and might encourage us to have a change of heart and mind? Do we listen to those whose voices echo our own, reinforcing the beliefs that we have about ourselves? This little blackbird and his powerful voice raised so many questions for me.
One voice can start a movement and write a powerful chapter in our world history.
Hitler spoke and his voice came from a place of hatred and tyranny with millions dying at his hands and the Nazi movement. Why did they listen? But they did, in their millions.
I visited Auschwitz a few years ago, and what struck me was that despite the passage of time, there remained a palpable air of pain, anguish and torture. Despite all the trees, particularly at Birkenau, even the birds had been silenced by the atrocities that had been committed there. As we walked round no one spoke, there was nothing to say. All we could do was weep for all those who had perished because of one man’s voice and the many who had listened and been influenced by it.
Jesus on the other hand, spoke of love and tolerance. Jesus openly spent time with people who were considered unlovable and unclean. He actively sought out the tax collector, the prostitute and the leper. Jesus listened to them, understood them at a deeper level and challenged them by speaking the truth in love. Their lives of fear and hatred were changed by a voice of love and forgiveness, a voice which challenged the establishment and laws of the time, non-judgemental and inclusive.
I challenge you to take time and do an audit of the voices you have listened to today. Did you make a conscious choice to listen to voices that confirmed your own views, rather than challenge them? Which voices upset, angered you or left you feeling afraid and powerless? Which voices inspired you, bringing you hope, peace and feelings of gratitude and power?
I find it interesting that the voices of those who seek to make a difference, who challenge governments, have to be sought out, whether it be about policy making, climate change, poverty or any number of other areas that need questioned. Generally speaking, they are not making headline news, or speaking to us from the front page of newspapers or high up on social media posts. We have to seek them out and when we do, boy is it worth it! There are so many voices out there who are, as Brene Brown would say, Braving the Wilderness, and speaking out on important issues. Those voices are calling to us to look at what is happening in our world, David Attenborough, Marcus Rashford, Richard Rohr, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Cheryl Richardson, Greta Thunberg and so many more. It’s worth spending time to search for these voices, voices that can inspire and set our hearts alight with a passion to help and support others, and to help heal this beautiful planet we live on.
All these thoughts from a little blackbird’s evening song. He has challenged me to listen to voices that inspire me and raise my spirit in love, joy and hope. Some of these voices have challenged my thinking, as uncomfortable as that was, but a lot of personal growth is hard, but so worth it. Is it not time to tune in to more human “blackbirds” despite life being noisy and discordant at times?
Which voices do you listen to? Make up your own list and encourage others to listen to them, that would be a song in itself.