Moved to speak

On Being With Krista Tippet is one of our favorite podcasts — and it is one of the ways Alene starts her day on the bus. There’s also a blog which we look at every now and then — and today we found a post which was really helpful for Alene — Rediscovering Sacred Silence, by Heather McRae-Woolf. It described the Quaker practice of worshipping in silence — but also the experience of being “moved to speak” by a trembling in the belly and hands — the “quaking” that gave name to the denomination.

Alene knows the feeling — of being “moved to speak” — even when there’s every reason to believe that the message might not be willingly received. It’s especially difficult when you find yourself being “moved to speak” in a forum with strict rules of engagement — because sometimes you are accused of “speaking out of turn”, or “cutting someone off”, or trying to redirect the conversation. But you just know that what you have to say has to be said right now — and that you have to insist on saying it all at one go — because once the moment has passed, it may never come your way again. And it’s hard to disguise the trembling of your voice. You have to avoid all eye contact and not worry about how people are reacting. You just keep talking until you’re done — and the quaking may take hours to subside — after which you may wish you’d just stayed silent — but that was never going to happen.

Her belly is nice and calm right now!

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