I went on an adventure with my new camera today, thinking I would enjoy the beautiful landscape by myself. Come to find out I was not alone because I heard a couple of voices along the way.
The first voice came from a wonderful Korean War Veteran whom I met at the Newton Cemetery. His name is Richard and he was reflecting on this Day of Remembrance as he visited with several WW2 casualties. Richard was the voice of sacrifice, reminding me of all the people who stood up for us and our rights. These same people also fought for those who could not fight for themselves and sacrificed their lives for those they didn’t even know. Richard also reminded me of another loss, friendship. Even though he did not lose his life while serving in the infantry, Richard lost friends with whom he stood next too in battle, brothers with whom he stood on commitment and said, “we are in this together”.
The second voice I heard came from observing a family: a father and his 4 year old son along with the father’s mother, sitting across from me on the T (subway). We talked about cameras for a few minutes and then sat quietly. I watched the interaction between father and son and it was adorable. I could tell that the little boy loved his daddy and daddy definitely loved his little boy. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could tell it was nice. Then his mother began to talk and unfortunately, I did hear what she said, and so did he. Looking at the doting father, her very own son, this woman said “If you were just a little trimmer, do you know what you would be able to do?” I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation, although it wasn’t much of one, because it was more like a monologue. She did all the talking while he turned away. I knew he could hear every word though, as his demeanor seemed to shrink right before my eyes.
I don’t understand parents like this. He was a good looking guy, with obviously a very caring heart for his child, who anyone would be proud to call son, and there he was hearing voices from long ago, criticizing him and shrinking his confidence down to that of a painful memory. What were the past voices he was hearing now, as he turned away from his mother and the embarrassment in front of his son? I wanted to lift my voice and tell this “mother” to be quiet and share in the moment of family and be to proud of her son, but I couldn’t do it. Unfortunately, she had to do what other mothers are known for….putting one of their own down to lift themselves up. That is definitely the wrong voice to listen to.
It was time for me to get off but there was something in me, something that wanted so much to give this father a voice and so I did. As I got up to leave, I looked at him and said, “In watching your son interact with you, I can tell that he adores you. Thank you for being a wonderful father.” He held his head up again, smiled, and mouthed “thank you”.
I hope and pray that THIS would be the voice that stayed with him for the rest of the day and I pray that we let THAT be the voice we ALL hear as well.