The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Songs That Voices Never Share

"People writing songs
that voices never share
And no one dare
disturb the sounds of silence"

It has only been recently that I have come to appreciate the jaw-dropping brilliance of Paul Simon's "The Sounds of Silence".

This world--this life--this society--the powers that be--the whole kit and kaboodle--convinces us to be ashamed of ourselves. The world pressures us to remain silent with the most sinister manipulation. Keep your art to yourself. Keep your emotions to yourself. Spend your life struggling to love yourself so you don’t spend any energy actually changing the world to the positive. Keep the artists and thinkers second-guessing themselves so they don't actually threaten the powers that be.

Don't disturb the sounds of silence, you are not worthy enough to do so. Sit back in your seat and be quiet.

Keep the woman paranoid about her weight so she doesn't actually realize her power and potential. Keep them scurrying around and reacting, and then when they internalize it you can lay off because they'll spend their life fighting shadows in their mind. Don't buy it, folks!

It pains me to imagine all the beautiful musicians and other artists who have only shared a portion of their creations with a select few. Its pains me to imagine all the people who don't share themselves with the world as the living art that they are. I am profoundly disturbed to say that most of them probably entertain a dream of sharing more widely but don't. The sounds of silence have won.

Many people out there are wildly creative and have wonderful dreams of living according to their passions and sharing art, thought and ideas with the universe. The tragedy is that many, many of them don't do that. Will anyone ever hear their songs? They have succumbed to the sounds of silence. The curse of perfectionism: A feeling of such profound unworthiness that someone never feels like they or what they create are ever good enough. I'm all for taking pride in a job well done, but there comes a time when silence is the only sound that is heard and that doesn't sound like a job well done at all.

They are convinced of their unworthiness. This music not good enough. This painting is not worthy enough. I'm not worthy enough. Silence is somehow better than the sound of my spirit. It would be better that I were not even here at all. Its painful to actually write that out, because my spirit screams from deep down with ever fiber of my being that it is not true, but I'm writing it because that's the message we tell the world when we fall silent. Those are the sounds of silence--everyone's scream of their own unworthiness. Or perhaps their resignation.

Where is the voice of one crying out in the desert? (Luke 3:4) Who is going to stand with me and say: I am worth contributing to this universe! I want to be part of God's creative energy molding and fashioning and coaxing this universe forward! What I have to offer is worth sharing!

Who is going to risk looking silly? You might get mocked, but that's just part of the trap. Don't be like the elephant with a tiny string around his leg who is absolutely convinced it is an indestructible rope.

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