January 18, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"Finding Our Voice"
“The King’s Speech” is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. It is the story of King George VI’s struggle to overcome a life long speech impediment as he suddenly becomes King of England following his older brother’s sudden abdication of the throne. The fact that this all takes place as the world is preparing for a second world war, and at the same time that radio is becoming a primary means for leaders to communicate with their people, creates a keen urgency for King George VI to face and overcome his problem with stammering.
This movie is the story of a man finding his voice. The double meaning of this is obvious as King George VI works with his speech therapist to overcome his stammer and as he works to discover and develop his voice as the leader of England. King George’s story is unique, and yet as I watched the movie I found myself identifying with what I think is a universal challenge, and often a struggle, for all of us, and that is the discovering and developing of one’s voice.
Having a clear voice involves much more than just the physical dimension of our being. It involves every aspect of our who we are--our heart, soul, mind and body. Having a clear voice means that we know what we believe and stand for and that we are able to express ourselves in a manner that is clear, passionate and affirming. When our voice is clear and strong we stand for something, not against something,and we speak from the depths of our being, affirming in the clearest way what we know to be true.
Our country celebrated Martin Luther King Day yesterday and I couldn’t help but think of another meaning of a “King’s speech” as I listened again to Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. There is no clearer example of a man who discovered and developed his voice, and spoke from the very depths of his heart, soul and mind. The “I Have A Dream” speech represents the culmination of several decades of Dr. King discovering and developing his true voice.
You and I are probably not ever going to speak in the public manner of King George VI or Martin Luther King, but like them, we have a voice that we have been given. We have a unique voice that is ours alone to discover and develop, and then to use it and speak it to those whom we love most. As we do this, we will no doubt find ourselves stammering and unsure of ourselves at times, thinking to ourselves maybe it’s easier to “play small” and remain quiet. Let’s be glad though that King George and Dr. King overcame that temptation and let’s be inspired by them to persevere in giving voice to what our hearts and souls and minds know to be true, and just, and loving.
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