Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it take to sit down and listen. –Winston Churchill
The first word that popped in my head during today’s run. My thoughts quickly went to Shane, one of the girls who now calls My Refuge House home. One of the first things I learned about her two years ago was that she herself had gone to the police and turned in her pimp. She did this after a stranger overheard her talking with a friend and the stranger encouraged her to go to the police. As a twelve year old!
A coworker at my former job once told me how grateful she was for a training session I facilitated months before. One of the girls in her care had been quiet (almost passive) for several months and had recently raised her voice and (my memory is fuzzy) maybe even used a curse word. My coworker was able to calmly say she would be right back, whereupon she stepped behind the office door out of sight, and did a happy dance. She was thrilled because I had not only prepared her for that moment; I had her looking forward to that moment. Instead of experiencing it as disrespect, she was able to recognize that the girl had finally used her voice. From there, the journey could begin to focus on how to use her voice.
Honestly, I hate the word. I don’t hate many things, but I hate the word voiceless. I believe we are all born with a voice. When we say voiceless, I think we really mean that people are being terrible listeners. I also think we dramatically minimize and diminish the power of voice held by whoever we are referencing. When I’ve challenged people on their use of the word voiceless, some argue that it is just semantics. Maybe. I happen to think it is more than semantics. If we say voiceless, the goal becomes speaking for the voiceless. If we cultivate better listeners? I think we’re on to something that might really change the world.
Inspired by How Full Is Your Bucket?, A Drop For Your Bucket offers a somewhat stream of conscious peek into my brain and heart during my training “adventures”. Between my 40th birthday in October of 2017 and the 10th anniversary of My Refuge House in September of 2018, I will run 10 different races. My hope is to gather friends along the way who will either run with me or cheer us on as we raise awareness about the journey of My Refuge House! I hope you will receive at least drop of inspiration in each of these raw reflections. Thank you for reading and pondering.