Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let Them Hear You When I Speak

I’m taking a brief Branching Out pause from my "Where You Go,I’ll Go" story to sow seeds of a different variety…
…seeds of education and encouragement…
…to six classes of students at the Young Americans College of the Performing Arts.

I sometimes forget but am quickly reminded, with the start of each new semester, of the fragility of the human spirit.

I think of my eldest sister who, when a mere 2nd grader, was told by a nun to stop singing because she was off key.  
Words are powerful.
These words, spoken by a woman who, I’m sure, never realized their impact or their devastating consequence, were the barometer by which my sister was to gauge her future vocal endeavors. 

For years my sister would accompany her siblings on the piano while we sang.  
I can’t recall a time growing up when I heard her sing alone.  
(Unless it was around the house to that ‘70’s classic “Freak Out.” 
Oh, or the other classic - response to my mother leaving the house after a particularly harsh session of scolding to which my sister broke out a full-voiced, enthusiastic version of the Hallelujah chorus....just as Mama walked back in unexpectedly.  
Boy, did she catch it for that one.  Hee hee.)  
Still, Theresa would participate in our familial musical endeavors primarily as an instrumentalist.

It broke my heart.
Oh, the power of words.

Yet, more than four decades after her decision to be silent, one of the sweetest sounds I ever heard was her solo voice at the hospice bedside of my father.  
We girls were taking turns singing the verses of a church hymn, and, based on a lifetime of singing only in groups, I wasn’t sure what would happen when the turn was hers.  
But as the circle closed, the decision was upon her and that throaty Irish voice with the gorgeous, big vibrato spilled forth.  
It was a miracle moment in my eyes.  
A moment that can only come with the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  
She threw back her head, eyes closed and smiling and the dam of forty years of swallowing musical moments burst.  
Pure grace.  

Yes, words have power.
And we need to be careful with them.

As I spoke to several tearful students after my classes today, I was reminded of this weighty lesson.  
The lesson that the fragile spirits of young adults are in my hands for two hours each week.  
And it's my responsibility to care for them and nurture them...
Speak words of life over them while I challenge them...
Always build and never break them.

So Day #7 of 
- New Beginnings - 
reminds me that, at the beginning of this brand new semester, 
I have an opportunity to affect change in the lives of our future generation.  
My prayer is that this change is always positive.  
My prayer is that my words reflect Him always.

{So grateful for my young students, 
artist hearts each one.
So grateful for this work 
& the opportunity to grow these 
dear ones with words of grace.
Thanks for reading.}

photo credit:  Brooke Thompson, 
Cynthia Branches Out website


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Margaret. Rereading it again tonight and realizing what a powerful lesson I was being taught. So grateful I wrote it down so I can be reminded again before I teach tomorrow.