Unheard Voices are Still Heard
Communication can be very complex when the recipient cannot understand what the individual is trying to converse. It is also frustrating to the one who is trying to communicate. It can be a breakdown from written language to verbal expression. If we communicate written language in a letter, email, or text, not seeing body language of the sender can leave the reader uncertain if there is sarcasm. If the sender unintentionally left out additional information for clarity it can also be a breakdown. However, the sender could have sent the message with perfect clarity, but the reader was in a bad mood, or has past issues left unchecked; giving him the wrong disposition by reading the message with a biased opinion.
Communication breakdowns and miscommunications can be daunting and hurtful to both parties. When we post messages, send emails, letters, and texts, it comes down to motives and where our heart and thoughts are when messages are sent or received. Having said that, we need to be additionally careful on social media how we present ourselves. We should never use social media, such as Facebook, to call others out with intentions to shame. If there’s a question that is of concern, a private message would show honor; looking for the good in others.
Our voice can be another way to communicate. Having a voice gives one an advantage, in most cases, to express our needs, ask questions, give directions, teach, and to scream. Having a voice, one can read stories out loud to children, sing, laugh, give counsel, and pray with others–blessings. The list goes on. Our voices can be very powerful—the tongue. But it can also get us into trouble when we don’t keep our heart and thoughts in check. Our tongue can be a blessing, or a curse to others, ourselves included. Language can build up, or tear down. Our words can breathe life or death to others. Our voice is a gift from HaShem; we should use it wisely when we open our mouths. Do we want to speak love and life into others, or like a knife, cut them down by belittling and mocking that shatters others with a broken spirit? How we speak to others exposes and reveals our own character and heart.
“Words Reveal Character
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.” (Matthew 12: 33-35)
HaShem already knows our heart and thoughts. G-d will send tests that’ll reveal the measure of grace we give to others. It’s never a good idea to ignore the Father when He is teaching us goodly things. Evil speech (Lashon hara) is destructive and comes in forms of hurtful words such as: shaming, lies, gossip, belittling, mocking, and embarrassing others in public, especially. If one is yelling, and the other one is in tears, a heart check needs to be evaluated. Our words spoken to others determine who we are. If we choose to listen to gossip, that is being a participant in Lashon hara (itchy ears to hear). In other words, as human beings, we are created to be in G-d’s image. The choice is to honor G-d by blessing others with our words, or take on the Beast (beast and man were created on the sixth day) that dishonors G-d with evil inclination (יֵצֶר הַרַע, “the evil inclination” that is also Yetzer hara). Our words should be a blessing that grow others in the breath of life, love, and truth; bringing honor to HaShem. When we use our words with Yetzer hara (evil speak), we are violating G-d’s will and it brings us the “spirit of impurity.”
What about those who can make sounds with their voices but cannot speak or those who are unable to make any sound due to medical conditions and cannot voice their needs? Sign language and braille (for those who are blind) can be a blessing so that their “quiet voices” can be heard. Yet, there are others who are unable to use sign language; although, they can use communication devices. When it comes to communication devices, setting them up can be challenging. Some individuals are more advanced than others, and different tests and observations can usually determine their needs. However, in some cases, those methods are not always accurate. Every special needs individual is at a different learning level. They also learn at a different pace—don’t we all? Setting up communication boards (iPad or other) for those who are nonverbal can become very challenging as it reveals the density of language. It’s more than a language barrier between two people from different counties trying to communicate. When one isn’t able to demonstrate what he/she understands, creating a device to meet the need of the individual can become difficult; especially if the child/adult doesn’t initiate the conversation.
When a communication device is designed to have a voice state what the photo is, that’s the beginning of a new world for one who is nonverbal. The complexity is revealed when we up the Annie on the board. We soon realize that when two verbal people can carry on a conversation about anything, trying to design a touch screen device to mimic a “conversations” is impossible. Though a simple question and answer area can be programmed, those same questions remain until it’s reprogrammed. As an advocate for those without a voice for one who can’t be heard, it’s our responsibility to be that voice for him/her. We do our best and allow a lot of grace on each side. The nonverbal person will be our teacher. And over time, we will reap those blessings when they come pouring out for His glory.
No matter what we are able to do in life, or not, HaShem hears our voice. He hears our thoughts, and He knows our motives, struggles, plans, desires, fears, and concerns. Those who are nonverbal can still use their thoughts and have a lot of time to think in their quiet world. We could learn a lot from one who is nonverbal. The next time you enter a facility or a home with a special needs person, take a few minutes to show kindness. Maybe offer to read them a story. Or at least tell them how nice they look and that they have a beautiful smile. They are aware who spends time with them, and notice the ones who walk by. We are called to love one another.
As we look closer at languages, written, verbal, sign, or other, we realize what we have here is the wondrous miracles for this gift, as well as the ability to hear.
Will we hear G-d when He calls us? This type of hearing is from within. HaShem wrote His Torah (G-d’s instructions) upon our hearts. Isn’t it amazing that those who are nonverbal, physically deaf, and find it challenging to communicate with others in written, speech, sign, or with other devices can still hear (Shema) the voice of G-d when He calls? In the same breath, those who are blessed with a voice to speak, and given the intelligence to understand written language with perfect hearing can be blind and deaf to the voice of G-d.
“Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes but do not see;
Who have ears but do not hear.” (Jeremiah 5:21)
The question remains, how will we speak to others? Our choices reveal our own character and heart. Will we breathe life or death into others? Will we bring blessings or cursing with our speech? Will we honor or shame and embarrass others? The measure we give to others is the measure we receive for G-d. In other words, if we hope to have grace and mercy from G-d, we need to extend that grace and mercy to others; ourselves included. We never know what HaShem is doing in the lives of others. Like a seed planted in the dirt, it remains in a dark place for a certain amount of time to germinate. However, during that time, life is happening. There is movement. We don’t see it on the surface until that growth sprouts. There is life in that seed, and the Father is watching. He is watching the seeds, the soil, and the ones planting. He is also watching those who throw toxic weed seeds (hurtful words) in His Garden.
Let our voices lift up others in prayer and song. Let our voices call out to HaShem with joy and praises; thanking G-d for everything. Let’s give words that build up and encourage others. There will be times that we feel as though our prayers are not heard; there will be times we feel isolated and alone. He holds every tear we have cried, and one day HIS GLORY will rain on us. But if we can remember those who are nonverbal and know that G-d hears them just as much as He hears us, then will we come to understand the “Fruits of the Spirit” of G-d. The Fruits of the Spirit doesn’t need to be physically vocalized, but is given through breathing life into others with blessings. Our voices, silent or not, are heard by the Father. The Torah is the Lamp of His Light—Amen!
Shamira the Shepherdess (P. Miller)