Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Being the granddaughter of a retired theatre professor, I have learned to listen. Voices become a medium, a form of art to convey a message. Voices are dimensional which is one reason I find them so amazing. Tone backs the words which serve as the surface transmitter, but there is an unspoken depth to this spoken medium of communication.

While spending time with him last week I came to fall more deeply in love with his voice. It resonates deep and full, sticks to my ribs like a good meal, and fills my lungs with warm, moving air. Grandpa's voice is pure.

As a young actor he got a part for a CBS movie. He practiced his lines with his diligent wife throughly, readying himself for the shoot. The day of the shoot he was on set from sunup to sundown, waiting for them to film his scene. When the time finally came to deliver his lines, his mind failed him. His repeated attempts were impeded with the sterile white of a blank memory. In a panic he turned to prayer, pleading with The Father to help him in this moment of desperation.


In frustration and embarrassment he left the shoot, head hung low. He could not understand why he wasn't delivered; why in a moment of great need, he was left wanting. Bitterness and resentment began to harden his heart and eventually he masoned a wall around himself, cutting him off from the spirit. Years passed, children grew, and he held on to the feelings of anger seeded years ago on a movie set under the bright lights of missed opportunity.

Laying in a hospital bed, he felt his heart for the first time in years and this time, listened to the still small voice swelling within it. "It's okay," it told him. And the light flooded into his mind and washed over the cramped cell in the hospital room.

I never knew that man. I never knew him as estranged or hostile, walking begrudgingly and carrying a heavy load. The grandfather who is embedded deep in my memory is one with strong hands and a voice that seems to always be in supplication. He is a careful creator, a patient listener. Patriarch in nature, he sticks in my mind as a spiritual reservoir of faith and wisdom.

Years before his spiritual hiatus, he was asked by the church asked to use his talents for the voice of Heavenly Father in the temple. He agreed and produced what he calls his, "finest work."

In retrospect, he has come to understand why he was left so helpless years ago. Not knowing the entire content of that particular movie, nor where work down that path would lead him, Grandpa acknowledges how the Lord kept his voice unblemished so it could remain pure, as a tool for conveying the spirit in the Lord's house. I am anxious to hear it, to sit and let the light of Christ fill me through my Grandfather's voice.

The voice is indivisibly connected to the being. Although it is easy to forget our words, seeing as they are not connected by some tangible string to our lips the moment we speak them, we are equally accountable for our spoken and written words. The concept reminds me a bit of this talk given last April. It's easy for me to forget my voice, it gets carried on air, lost in a mingle of others and swept out of sight and mind. But Grandpa taught me that voices are sacred, gifts bestowed within us for building the kingdom, and with His help, we can put our voices to the use and benefit of those who hear it.

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