What Silence Taught Me.

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Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

I’m taking a detour from the regular “Did you? series”, to talk about something really fresh that I have learnt in the last 8 days. I’m tempted to go directly into the topic I want to share about, but I know it is right I lay a preamble to it.

For 8 days stretch, just after recovering on a hackers attack on my website, I lost my voice! You might not understand the gravity of losing one’s voice, I did. I did not have a cold, a cough or even a sore throat, I just discovered that the loudest I could go was the mimicry of a ladies high pitched voice. I could not be heard over the phone, I could not speak to three people let a lone a crowd, I was bothered. I had varied recommendations from different people about what to do and I was virtually open to all, honey, lemon, lime, lozenges, vitamin C e.t.c. If someone had recommended Viagra, I might have tried it out 🙂

The day’s went by one by one, I traveled out of the country for a while, hoping that by the time I returned I’ll be well rested, as that was a prescription I found hard to take. While all these was happening, I realized the value of my voice, and saw how in reality, next to my brain, my voice was next in the line in terms of my assets. At some points I wondered, was God asking me to shut up? What did He require of me? Have I obeyed his last command? Did he want me to write a book? I negotiated with God, if you could restore my voice, I will do this, I will do that… the voice didn’t come. I prayed, and was open to divine direction and there was something he dropped in my heart, “I put people in strange circumstances for many reasons, but principally because I want them to learn and know, remember Nebuchadnezzar?”. He then asked me to learn what I can, in this season when I could not speak out. I learnt a few things, and you might not need to go through the same experience again to learn.

1. I thought I knew how valuable my voice was, I realized that I didn’t. I had to miss so many engagements and appointments, just because I couldn’t even communicate. I had to pass on many phone calls, refuse to make many, and lose quite some money and time, just because of my voice loss. There was so much research I did about voice loss, online and offline that I did in the last 8 days that I have never done. If this happens to me ever again or to anybody else I know, I now know a 5 minutes solution (maybe I should put it in a sachet and sell it). There are many things that you and I think we know, we only get to truly know them when they are put to the test. Does it not amaze you, that after full semesters or terms of teaching and training, it always ends with a test? Does it also not amaze you, that it is when we pass those tests, that we are actually qualified for the next class? That’s the same way it is in life, whatever you think you know, or have, or represent, needs to be tested to qualify you for the next class. Until you are tested, the term continues. Prepare for the tests of life, they are tests you cannot afford to fail.

2. The needy are vulnerable! We who have need to be honest and forthright with those in need, we need to be genuine in our quest to help, because all advice is good for one in need. Like I said earlier, I would have been willing to try a number of options so far they were not outrightly against my values. I also learnt the importance of values, they are the things that keep you straight or going on when you are in deep trouble. It also shows that we need to surround ourselves with good people, just in case our season of vulnerability comes. I know of not a few ladies for example who have been raped by people they were vulnerable to, he’s a good guy but he does this and that… be very careful.

3. I learnt by experience that silence is golden. Have you every known the answer and not be able to say it? Or engage in an argument with someone with a louder voice than yours? Or have an opinion that doesn’t get heard. These are sample’s of times you wish you could speak out. I had many occasions like this in the course of the week, and one thing I saw quite clearly that the ability to know, to be able to speak and keep silent is another level of wisdom. I didn’t keep quite by choice at these times, I kept quite because I had to, but the feeling of maturity and wisdom that I got from not saying a word is truly golden. There is a lot to learn from the people around you, if you can just keep shut enough to get them to air their opinions. Stop terrorizing people with your charisma and leadership skills, shut up and let another speak. My silence gave me an opportunity to truly listen, to be silent and offer not many suggestions. I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to do, “I will keep silent a little extra today”. That is for us that know to speak, those that keep silent perpetually don’t know what they’ve lost.

4. I learnt the solution to having a great voice. While all the episode continued, I feared that I would use all things, and not know exactly what the solution was or what the problem was. Thankfully however, it did not happen like this. Once I got the solution, it took less than 5 minutes for my throat to clear. Right now, my voice is so rich, I’m thinking I probably might now be able to sing :). It took a long process to get to the solution, but once it’s done, it’s done. I learnt that all solutions to problems came at a price, that’s why we currently pay for them.

5. I learnt that God does not only own all that I have, he owns me and he owns my voice. I thought I knew this as well, but in the process of this voice loss, I had to remind myself that it was not mine, but God’s. I actually got to the point of looking at worst case scenarios and seeing that it was never mine, and reassuring myself that if my voice ceased, then God was saying I should write, that he wanted focus. Stewardship is so interesting, it let’s you know quickly, that you don’t own anything, and everything you have is safe and secured because they are God and he gives them as his privilege. I realized so far I was at peace with him, I have no cause to be alarmed.

6. I learnt the value of communication in anger management. I saw how my temper fuse was rising in times that I could not express myself. I saw a vital communication, that people who got angry very easily are usually people who cannot express themselves properly. I drew the extreme and could see easily why the dumb get aggressive. Tell me who wouldn’t be angry when he/she sees that the other party does not understand but is not armed with the words to make it clear. I saw that a very easy cure to temper tantrums was to develop good communications skills. If you can say it clearly, you wouldn’t have to boil over it.

These are a few things that I learnt in this season, now my voice is back with a plus! I have resumed normal life and started speaking again. There was a project I had on hold for a while, voicing some topics on deoluakinyemi.com and expanding them for a larger audience. I’m embarking on this ASAP, now that I know the value of being able to speak? What do you have that you have not valued enough to utilize? Have you valued it? I give thanks to God, the giver of life, for the privilege of diction, unction and erudition. Thanks for giving me my voice back with a bang, for if the lord does not build the house, the builders labor in vain.

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