Don’t go through life, grow through life. ~ Eric Butterworth
I saw this quote this afternoon, after an enriching and encouraging talk with one of the Canons at the Cathedral. To be honest, I had been dreading it. I’m not a particularly confident person at voicing my opinions outside the home. Trust me – my brother would easily confirm that I’ll put up a domestic fight where I see it is necessary. I accept the fact that I am opinionated in certain spheres, and I mostly I feel confident in my own opinions, but I won’t often share them, for fear of being judged.
Much of my fear of voicing my opinions comes from the fact that I am still 17. What weight do my little words have on the world? How can I see things in a way that adults can’t? I must be wrong. I stay quiet, and let the adults talk.
But recently I’m beginning to understand that it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m proud of my opinions, and I’m gaining more confidence both in myself, and my abilities to voice concerns and suggestions. I’m almost an adult – I can take responsibility and show leadership, despite my age.
I felt alone before, like no one would understand me if I spoke out. They weren’t saying the things that I saw, so I must have been wrong. But, in truth, we all see the world in a different way. It is, therefore, important that everyone feels able to voice their own opinions. Perhaps they don’t say what I see because they don’t see it. And if they don’t see it, then they should see it. And it’s my responsibility to make them see what I see. Because I am important, however young I am. I can play a role, and my little words might just make a difference in my communities – because sometimes God speaks to the young.
That’s something I’m still in the process of accepting.
And key to that was doing something – was speaking out. And I spoke. I probably spoke too much. Bottled up thoughts turn into an avalanche of offload. But I spoke. And that’s what’s important. It felt like a relief, a burden gone. The thoughts I’ve kept inside for so long, the anger and the confusion, could all flow out to someone who, actually, understood. And, as a result, I found a bit more of myself. A bit more confidence, trust and resilience. A part of me seemed to heal. I grew in myself.
One of the things that I will always remember from the conversation we had, was the word ‘appreciate.’ We should ‘appreciate’ people in our communities. That doesn’t just mean appreciation in terms of gratitude, though this vitally important, but also appreciation in terms of growth. We should enable those around us to grow, physically, mentally, in strength, in confidence, in faith, in understanding, in curiosity, in vocation.
So perhaps we should just go through life, ignoring our opinions and bottling things up, but grow through life. We should appreciate, and we should be appreciated. With the help of those around us, our communities, we can grow in confidence, and discern our calling. We should grow and become the people we strive to be – freed of shame, fear, doubt, and lack of self-confidence. We should speak out, be strong, and we will grow. And perhaps we will see that we are not so alone.
Thank you to those who appreciate me and enable me to grow in every way.