This I Believe

Erin - Healdsburg, California
Entered on March 19, 2007

Overcoming the silence

I believe in the power of words.

As a child, I had a hearing problem, which came as suddenly as it went. I could hear when people talked directly to me but most of the time I was lost in the little world of silence that I had built around me. The bright vivacious chatter of the other children retreated to a background buzz like the angry humming of a thwarted honeybee, as I strained to be part of the world that had deserted me. Pretty soon my frustration gave away to resigned contentment as the outside world could have no claims on me if I didn’t hear them.

Then one day, the sounds of the world intruded on me once again. Suddenly the silent lips formed not only vapor, but words. Words that could move you from bitter tears to unrestrained laughter and from the depths of despair to heavenly heights of hope. Language cut through the impenetrable hush like silver lightning against a darkened sky, and suddenly, I was once again part of this world.

A world that I came to see had many faults.

Thomas Jefferson led America out of the shadow of the British with the written promise that his way would lead to freedom. His words guided us through a revolution and gave us the courage to begin again. Our entire country is based on the power that language has given us, so why, in view of current events, do we continue to not speak our minds?

It is time for this entire country to stand up, rise above our fears, and voice our beliefs. We can no longer hide inside this noiseless vacuum, our insides festering with words left unspoken. We can no longer remain mute as we see injustices being waged around the globe. We can no longer pretend that we are insignificant because the world does not wait for anyone.

I believe that one voice can change the world. Will it be yours?