The power of a voice

We underestimate the power of our own voices. I am certain of this. Too many times, comments I have made lightheartedly have hurt the feelings of others, the last thing I intended to do. Life teaches us these little things if we learn to heed to its lessons. Fortunately, we do learn some of them. We understand the power of a smile to brighten the mood of others we encounter, for example.

To my regret, I find myself answering the phone recently in a tone of voice that conveys suspicion. The reason, I suppose, is that I have learned that so many phone calls these days are unwelcome sales pitches, often recorded messages. That’s a mercy, in a way, because a recording is spared the sting of my distrustful tone of voice.

But a kindly voice brought me to my senses just yesterday. As I gradually begin to make some early arrangements for a trip that Betsy and I plan to take later in the summer, I phoned a place in Lincoln, New Hampshire, to reserve a two-bedroom condo for us and Betsy’s sister Martha to use for the one night we plan to be in that town. I would have done this online but the lodge’s web site informed me of a two-night minimum stay, so I phoned, hoping to persuade someone to let us stay for just one night.

The instant I heard her voice, I felt comfortable. In my imagination, I saw a warm smile, a kindly face. Arlene said sure, we could stay just one night if we wished. Her voice sounded excited when I gave her our address in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She immediately wanted to talk about her nephew living in Raleigh, just 35 miles east of Chapel Hill. “He’s an anesthetist,” she said, “at Duke.” I responded that Duke’s medical center is first-rate. So is the University of North Carolina’s, we agreed together. And we chatted away about the sports-team rivalry and the great medical care available to folks who live in our area.

And in those few minutes, we became friends, 822 miles apart, joined by the sounds of our voices.



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