This is for the quiet women.
The women whose hearts are as large as any other, yet their soft voices fall on deaf ears tuned in only to noise.
The women who inwardly scream with passion for all they hold dear, yet outwardly present themselves more discreetly than others.
The women who are overlooked and ignored by those who may speak louder, though not necessarily with more substance.
This is for us.
The world is raging around us right now. And we’re told constantly that we need to speak. That to be silent is to take the wrong side, to be complicit in the atrocities we see around us. That this is the time for those with passionate words always on their lips. The platforms to support the collective outrage are as endless as they are inviting.
Yet there are some of us who exist quietly in the shadows, carefully calculating how best to express the swell of feelings rising and falling inside. We are quiet, but we are not disengaged. We choose our words carefully, but we are not dispassionate. We may say nothing at all, but our lack of words does not make us complicit.
Our outrage doesn’t always come in the form of a passionate rant or visible social rage. Sometimes it comes forth as a painting. A photograph. An intuitive message. A poem. Sometimes we rant with color, music, energy.
Sometimes, our visions are too big and bold for words alone.
Many tell us this isn’t enough. That we have to be angry. We have to put ourselves on the front lines in order to have any hope of effecting change. We do need to be willing to be awake and aware. To be firm in our convictions in light of the hatred, intolerance, and pain that is oozing through every pore of every aspect of humanity right now.
But are we called to be loud?
I don’t think so.
It is the loudest voices that most often demand that we all must contribute to the moral outrage of our day in the same way. There is power in numbers, and if we can out-scream our enemies, then surely we win, right?
Yet it is the quietest among us who know something others often miss.
We know that when we are quiet, we observe more. We listen more. We pick up on the subtle nuances of other people’s behaviors, beliefs, and fears. As quiet observers, we see the bigger picture and take informed, passionate action from a different perspective.
We don’t scream it in your face. Or on your newsfeed. Our contributions may be subtle, yet they’re still full of righteous anger. They may be more peaceful, yet they still express the outrage we feel inside just as deep as anyone who is awake in this world today.
There is a time to be loud. There is a time to rage. And there is also, for many of us, a time to pave a different path. To be quiet in a world of loud, trusting that our way of expression is just as powerful. Just as world-changing.
As quiet women, our invitation to the collective table of change-makers may be overlooked, so we must invite ourselves. We must continue to contribute in our own way.
We must hold true to who we are, no matter how or what the world tells us to be, for that is the only way we can authentically respond to the pressing issues of our times. We must embrace the power of nuance, simplicity, beauty, and yes, even silence, as our contribution to much-needed societal change, for these qualities build bridges and open doors to conversation in a way screaming never can.
In the great here and now
Eyes to a new light
Some with hope and devastation
Some with the light of new life
Each fueled by the desire
For inner peace and love
The changing ones are leading
In the back doors of our minds
With carefully planted words and songs
Right up front in the conference halls
On the screens
In the churches
On the scenes
Yet pay attention to the quiet ones,
The ones who lead with gentleness and service
In the backdrop of the crowd
For Jesus even said, “Blessed are the meek”
And the meekest of us all
May possess the inner space
To hold the love that opens up
All our starving hearts
Author: Ashley Barnes
Editor: Emily Bartran
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman