Friday, August 1, 2014

Losing my voice

When we first started blogging we had a particular audience in mind - people who didn't receive our prayer letter updates, but who wanted to follow our adventures in PNG. We imagined that only our friends would read it - people who knew us, our personalities, our senses of humour, our voices. We have both blogged from the different perspectives our different roles have given us and  tried hard to portray our lives here honestly.

Early on we realised that it wasn't just people we knew who were reading the blog. We were pleased and excitedly looked up the statistics page, enjoying how our readers seemed to be spread across the world. What I didn't do was think about how this would affect how I wrote and how it would affect how I would be understood. I didn't think about how our voices might change either, or the ears that might be hearing them. This is interesting because back in my university days, this is exactly the sort of thing I was fascinated by - I was excited by what happens to meaning when it is interpreted by someone else who has a different perspective. Now that we live and are heard in a cross-cultural community in the middle of a country with a very different culture to the one we knew, I often find it a struggle to feel understood, even by those with whom I share a language. 'Do you know what I mean?' is a question often on my mind and in my mouth. Most of the time I think I am blissfully ignorant to the oddities of how I sound to the people I meet. I assume understanding and when I realise I have been mistaken, it is hard. I have started to think that I don't know how to say what I mean out loud or through written words. I have been wondering if I have lost my voice. 

We love getting responses to our blogs, but some of the feedback I have received about the ones I have written has made me question myself because I have inadvertently implied things I didn't mean to. I have gone back and read over what I wrote to see how I could have given the impressions I have and am left confused. I can't hear my voice through all the different ears and make it say what I want it to, to them all. And so I have been silent. It's not as if what I am writing is particularly earth shatteringly exciting anyway - I seem to have been mostly concerned with laundry, washing-up liquid and cooking after all. So I have been wondering if it is better to stick to putting up photos of Reuben and the helicopter..

In the end it seems I can't resist having a go anyway and hoping it will be all right. I can't completely control how you will read me - how your experiences,  impressions, cultural context or emotions will influence, but I think I still want to risk the attempt to communicate and let the chips fall where they may. I can't deny that it is frustrating to feel misunderstood, but it is also enriching and refining. 

I suppose the truth is that this blog really isn't about whether you hear my voice as I want it to be heard, or Duncan 's. It's meant to be a glimpse into why we are here. It's God's voice that transforms everything and everyone deserves the chance to hear it in their own language. Perhaps you really don't know what I mean when I say that, but I hope you will keep reading, as I hope to keep writing. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi D, T, and R
    Loving reading the blog, seeing the pics! And appreciating the honesty....and in an attempt at typical Dave humour.....did you really lose your voice Tru? Must have been all that shouting at Dunc. We TOTALLY understand ;-)
    Sending much love - will email again soon
    D, E, Z, S