Voice

What if God takes away the thing you care about the most?

Back in 2014, I lost my voice for a week. I came down with a cold and could only muster a sound of a whisper. My throat and my chest were in pain. This has been the third time I battled against the fear of permanently losing my voice, but let me tell you about the first.

High School

I had the opportunity to lead as an officer in Citizenship Advancement Training. I can’t remember now what we were preparing for at that time, but it required us to train for almost three hours every day regardless of the weather. My rank required massive use of my voice during training as each command needs to be heard by almost 150 students spread out in an open field. Long story short, I lost my voice exactly a month before the big event.

My mom and I came to see a doctor in town and I was advised not to let out any sound nor exert an effort to speak for an entire month. I was ordered to write notes or use hand signals to communicate. The warning was, if I don’t get better, I might lose my voice permanently. Imagine the terror I felt.  

Every day on my way to school, I dropped by the church to pray. Each time I would beg God to give my voice back and I swore to protect and treasure it. In the meantime, as we continue to prepare for the big event, my fellow officers suggested we devise a strategy. To convey a command of execution in the absence of my voice I’d have to exaggerate a shoulder-drop. That means everybody will have to focus now on my shoulder, regardless of where they are in the field. Now keep in mind that there’s a proper sequence of commands here. We have to carefully follow the script and my “subjects” need to execute each command as if they were hearing my voice.

Days passed and the moment of truth came.  

It was a bright, beautiful morning, and the wind was cold. Green grass covered the open field and the 150 of us stood there ready. Spectators came, my mom was in the crowd. Early that morning, I asked God to give me this one opportunity, one moment to have my voice and He can take it away again if He must. I was desperate. At that time it was the only thing that mattered to me.

So there I was in the open about to give out my very first command. Everybody was anxious. I inhaled deeply for the very first time in my life, savoring the air coming to my lungs. I looked to my left, mustered all strength, summoned all courage and faith. As my head moved from left to right I uttered the first command. Alas! There was a voice! Strong and powerful!

I can vividly remember my first officer grinning from ear to ear as he marched back to his post just behind my back. Both of us couldn’t believe what just happened. The rest of the officers standing behind me were murmuring words of joy and appreciation. We did a good job that day. We didn’t bag all the awards but we definitely felt victorious.  

Aftermath

My voice didn’t sound ever the same since that morning. What used to be a thin crispy tone is now raspy. But I think the key takeaway from this experience is recognizing the treasure behind our gifts and abilities. What we oftentimes ignore are things that other people would die for. Besides that recognition, we deliberately have to choose to use our gifts for good, that way, the blessing doesn’t stop with us.  

The kind of legacy we leave is up to us. The key to leaving something good lies in our daily choices. For you and I, may that choice be:

Giving the best version of ourselves to the world for however long or short we get to stay.

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