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If a tree falls in the forest ...

Listen.

Can you hear that?

Try a little harder.

We all have a voice.

The trouble is we’re too concerned

With making our own heard.

We all speak at once.

All the voices get tangled together.

Pretty soon, I can’t distinguish mine from yours,

His from hers.

Each of us thinks our own is best.

We love hearing the sound it makes.

Our heads are held a little bit higher.

Our chests are puffed out a little bit more.

But everyone is separate,

Disunited.

We’re all so narrow-minded.

Our ears only hear the sound that comes out of our own mouth.

They are dull,

Weak,

Dusty.

But our vocal chords aren’t.

They crack from overuse.

Because people think they’re not heard,

They shout louder,

And LOUDER.

They want to make sure their own voice is heard

Because their way is best.

They yell,

Put up posters,

Hand out flyers,

Hold protests or speeches or campaigns.

All to make sure people are listening to them.

But the funny thing is,

They never listen themselves.

Pretty soon you’ve got art and politics and government and economics And media and society all screaming to be heard.

But all it is is noise.

And it causes fighting and corruption

And scandal and hatred and prejudice

Toward people who are our brothers,

Our sisters,

Our family —

All because we’re too proud to admit,

That maybe he’s right,

Maybe she knows what she’s talking about.

Maybe it’s not just about making our own opinions, beliefs, and voice heard.

We could learn so much more.

We could grow so much more,

Be at peace more,

Love more,

Experience more.

We wouldn’t have to be so afraid

If we would all just stop

And listen.

Jayne Ruppert is a senior at Westside Christian High School who is a regular columnist for the Lake Oswego Review. To contact her, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




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