We just want to be heard. We want our voice to matter.
Books that teach techniques of influencing others become best sellers. People are desperate to learn how to speak and act in ways that will receive the attention and respect of others. They desperately want something, anything, to make their voice matter. To get power. To get others to listen.
Politicians, scholars, patients, inmates, celebrities and scientists. The young and the old. The sick and the healthy. Teachers, students. Lenders and debt collectors. Judges and juries. Women and men. Patients and doctors. The majority and the minority. The rich and the poor. They all want to be seen and listened to. They work, strive and at times, risk their lives…just to be heard.
Demonstrators protest hoping that will do the trick. Hoping that if not the volume of their voices, but their mere physical presence will send a loud enough message that it is impossible to ignore. Sheer numbers of people give a message volume, thus power, even if the demonstrators are silent. And when do people feel compelled to demonstrate more than when a voice is not being heard…or maybe to defend a voice that cannot speak. Planet Earth, unborn babies, sick children, or animals on the brink of extinction. It’s amazing to witness the human instinct when it responds to a fragile, yet critical, voice that is being ignored…
This world is noisy from everyone fighting to be seen, and heard. Horns honk. Sirens wail. Babies cry. Teachers are constantly hushing. Preachers are constantly shouting. And social networks are busting at the seams. Facebook and Twitter gives you a voice…a public forum even. A forum that feels louder…more significant. So now daily, mundane, insignificant activities of your life feel more meaningful. Less lonely. People “liking” and responding to you makes you feel seen. Heard. Important. Thus the attraction.
The fight for airtime continues at the hospital. Doctors, nurses, social workers, patients, patients’ families, chaplains, and psychologists. They all want their voice to be heard. To matter. To make a difference. How much about medical care would change if egos and personal needs to be heard were taken out of the equation? What if everyone prioritized the same voice? What if everyone put the patient’s voice above their own? That would require humility of those who strive to be heard…
Maybe being heard proves something? Knowledge? Worth? We all want to know, “Did what I say mean anything to you?”
How does this align with Scripture when it says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you” (1 Thess. 4:11). A quiet life?! If I’m quiet, then no one will notice me. No one will care. I’ll be forgotten. What fears come up when picturing a quiet life? What is at stake when living in such a way? Why do I need to be heard? Is it because I don’t trust that He sees me?
“Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue-to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak”