“There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.” – Po Bronson
The great goal of my life after being burned on 100% of my body as a kid was to just be ordinary.
Perhaps that sounds unambitious, but after spending five months in the hospital and years recovering, I longed to be normal. I wanted my voice to disappear into the chorus of those around me.
After being released from the hospital and learning to walk and write again, I went back to grade school, played soccer, made great friends and generally fit in. I went through high school and college, pledged a fraternity, was the social chair and had a blast.
Through it all, though, I was missing something that I would later learn makes my voice most remarkable. And until I had this realization: I actually refused to tell anyone about it. The experience of how I got burned as a kid.
I never shared with roommates, friends or family. I endured it, survived it and left it in the past.
In my late 20s my mom and dad wrote their book Overwhelming Odds detailing their experience as the parents of a little boy who was critically burned, coping with their five other kids who were displaced after the house fire, supported by the outpouring of their community and buoyed through it all by their unwavering faith. They printed a couple hundred copies for their friends. Today they’ve sold more than 60,000 copies.
One of those copies they sold to their son, John. That’s right, for 10 bucks I got to learn how I got burned as a kid! But more importantly, I got to learn how remarkable my voice is; how beautiful my story is.
My friends, reading their book changed my life.
I realized for the first time the scars I’d always hidden were worthy of being embraced. I learned that in order to learn the true sound of my voice I had to stand apart from the chorus. We all do, actually.
Everyone has a story. [Tweet this.]
We’ve all been burned, dealt with struggle, endured storms in life. We’ve lost parents, children and friends. We’ve failed in businesses, marriages and dreams. We’ve stumbled spiritually, physically and financially. And yet what I am absolutely certain of today is that our scars from these experiences aren’t signs of weakness to be covered up, but symbols of strength to be celebrated. [Tweet this.]
I lived 20 years stuck in fear, hiding in the shadows and struggling to fit in. What a beautiful gift to wake up today on fire with love, dancing in the light and at total peace with the reflection in the mirror.
My friends, there is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice. And once you know the sound of your voice you have the opportunity to sing it out for others.
We all have stories. In sharing them we reveal both the strength of our character and provide hope to others. Today, I’m asking for you to share a chapter of your story with me in the comments.
Can’t wait to hear your voice.