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The Power of One Voice

[caption id="attachment_3035" align="alignright" width="200"] Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA - Co-Director[/caption]

We are all blessed with different talents

There's something exhilarating about being in a room with people who have put their trust in God and are devoted to doing good. I experienced that invigoration this past weekend while meeting with our Associates Council. The meeting started on Friday evening and the agenda was packed, so my expectation was to come home exhausted. Instead, I returned home on Sunday feeling energized and encouraged. On the drive home, as I reflected on our time together, I was reminded that we have all been blessed with different talents and gifts and unique voices and that we can use those voices, gifts, and talents - individually and collectively - to change the world.

One voice can change a room

[caption id="attachment_4606" align="alignright" width="300"] "Yes we can!"[/caption] To my surprise, when I returned home, there was a white box waiting for me. I was a little confused because I could tell that the box contained a book and I had not ordered anything. Inside the white box was a gold box adorned with a red ribbon. Inside the gold box was a blue box with an image of the Presidential Seal. Inside the blue box was a book. On the cover of the book is a photo of a smiling President Barack Obama and these words: "YES WE CAN: Daily Celebrations of the Legacy of President Barack Obama created exclusively for COLETTE M. PARKER." A note inside indicated that the book was a gift from my sister. When I opened the book, the first quote was:

One voice can change a room. And if it can change a room, It can change a city. And if it can change a city, It can change a state. And if it can change a state, It can change a nation. And if it can change a nation, It can change the world.

Those words took me back to the room where we gathered this weekend. As I recalled each of the 10 people there and their willingness to listen as each individual shared her/his story, I thought about the people in the world who believe their voices don't matter. Many of those who feel voiceless believe that nobody cares about them and that nobody is listening to them. How many times have we dismissed someone because, in our own minds, we didn't think they had anything worthwhile to say?

Each person has a unique story

[caption id="attachment_4605" align="alignleft" width="375"] Each story is unique[/caption] Each person has a unique story - one that only belongs to her/him. But they need someone with whom to share that story. By taking the time to listen, we empower the storyteller by giving her/him voice. Let us resolve today that we will assume what someone else has to say is as important as what we have to say; that we can learn as much from someone else as they can learn from us; that we will enter into the world of someone else and not always require them to enter into ours to connect. Voice is one of the most powerful things in the world. We can use our voice as an instrument of peace. We can use our voice to bring attention to issues that concern us. We can use our voice to create a more just and sustainable world. We can use our commitment to "love our neighbors as ourselves" as fuel to give voice to others and to use our voice to change the world. Let's use our voice - individually and collectively - to change the world for good.

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