My Voice, or the Lack Thereof

7 days ago, I lost my voice.

I had been up all night before coughing and coughing and couldn’t get a wink of sleep in.  I got out of bed at 6:30a Sunday morning, knowing I had 3 services to sing through at church that day, just hoping I would get through it and be able to recover the following week.

I warmed up my voice before morning rehearsal and sang through 2 songs during 1st service before the higher range of my voice gave out.   It got worse and worse and by the time 3rd service ended, I had no lower, mid or high range. My voice was completely gone.

I don’t panic when this happens anymore, at least, not immediately.  I’ve lost my voice once a year for the past 3 or 4 years.  I’ve lost count.  It goes away and then after a few days it comes back.  The first year it happened, it was sorta traumatizing. I had an important audition that I botched because my voice wasn’t fully recovered.  I lost a few notes at the top of my range that year that haven’t fully returned to me.

The first couple of times I lost my voice, I immediately jumped head-first into a whirl of blame and accusation. Something along the lines of – God took my voice away from me because I’ve been putting my identity in my ability to sing.  He’s doing this to teach me a lesson.  I’m idolizing my voice and hoarding the praise I receive from it.  I need to rid myself of this pride.  

Then starting from around Day 3 or 4, I would start to spiral pretty quickly – My voice is never returning. I’m never going to sing again.  And if I don’t have my voice, then who am I?  What will people think of me? 

I did a lot of soul-searching on those days.  Talk about not knowing who I am.

This time around, maybe I was a little tired of the self-doubt and panic, so I resolved to turn to wonder. I asked myself, How is God coming to me in my voicelessness and imposed silence?  Instead of the usual spiral downward, I started to hear a different story and made some revealing observations.

Today I hear my lower range clawing its way back to what is hopefully a voice that I recognize when it returns.  I’m slowly learning to let go of the things I thought are at the core of who I am.  They still define me to a large degree, and I’m glad they do, but I won’t be destroyed if and when I lose them.  I suppose existence goes much deeper than what we imagine sometimes.

To be continued…


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