is there something wrong with wanting to be heard?
I hear this sentiment tossed around our culture a little too frequently for my liking. most often it goes a little something like oh you just want to be heard or something along those lines. like there is something wrong with speaking up or sharing your voice. after listening to this sentiment for a while I got to thinking that the real message behind this is “ do not speak up unless it is something that can be universally agreed upon”. I get it, at least I think I do… folks want to express themselves and not be ridiculed or excluded. thus we get this culture of expression from people like hipsters, emo, queer folk, artsy , and the indie crowd.
if you are anything like me a question mark went up when it became cool to wear Toto’s in public, accentuate make up, make your teeth into vampire fangs, or have a man bun. what I have learned is that it is ok to have question marks go up. I understand I may have picked some stereotypes to pick on, but what I see in each of these expressions is look I am different and I can be different. , do you see me, do you hear me? these question marks that went up for me and the questions that are being asked by the people expressing themselves are all good and we should appreciate them and hear them. if we do not hear them then both sides will build a foundation on ignorance and prejudice. this is what I think MLK was referring to when he said “ the riot is the voice of the unheard”. the greater the ignorance the greater the unrest and desire for expression. when we try to express ourselves and we do not get heard then we take bolder steps to being heard. this is why affirmation is so important and this goes beyond telling somebody they look nice and into the realm of telling somebody their voice matters.
so do I want to be heard? yes I want to be heard, do I want it to look like I am on a soap box or creating my own separate colony, absolutely not. I want to share, so that others see that it is possible, important, necessary, and powerful. Is there a bit of desire for affirmation, of course, I would be lying if there wasn’t. the dominate desire, though, is to create a place for others to be heard. story is important and my story is just a subliminal part of this world and I recognize that and I want to bring others in to share their story because it is important. what got you to where you are, why do you express yourself the way you do, what do you want people to know?
I have found a common theme in our voice and when I say voice I do not just mean the verbiage that comes out of our mouth, but how you display yourself, what you say and how you say it and how you walk through this thing called life. what I have realized is that many of the voices I hear come from a place of pain and hurt. that those are the thing that define us and that we cling to. hurt and pain are real things and they mean a great deal to us because they impact us so much the scary thing is that I think we have created a culture where it is not acceptable to be real with our pain because it shows weakness. it is not only the weakness that holds us back, but it is the inability for most of us to receive somebody’s hurt and pain with compassion and understanding. a dig part of this is making sure the person is heard. what I have found is if the person is heard then the longing for acceptance goes down. once somebody hears those words “I hear you” or experiences that sentiment then they have this momentary feeling of connection and the peace that comes along with knowing that somebody is with you.
I may be trying to fetch something far away, but when I think of this scenario of not being heard and wanting to express yourself to be heard, I think of Jesus. not so much of the Jesus image on the cross, but when Jesus said my yoke is upon you it is easy and my burden is light. what I hear in this is somebody that is ready to hear you and walking along side you, there is not judgement, no pressure, and no standards. You can come freely express yourself as you are. Under this yoke there is no riot because you are heard and in that place there is peace and acceptance for god is Emanuel and he is with us and he hears your voice, your cry for life, your cry to be seen.
this does not diminish the reality of life and the hurt and pain that accompanies it, but it says that I am with you. since there is somebody with us, we can share, we can be in silence, we can be angry, and we can ask for help and tell them what we want. It does not mean you are going to get all that you want, but you will be heard and there will be somebody else that says I needed to hear that or I am going through the same thing. So when somebody says I just want to be heard I want them to now I do not just want to be heard, but I want them to know I am sharing an experience, providing an opportunity to connect, and teaching so that we might see a bit deeper into this thing called life. thank you for hearing me and I look forward to hearing you