‘EYE CAN TALK’ – a silent soul emerging…

This week I watched Locked-in Boy on BBC iPlayer from the series ‘My Life’.
It’s the story of Jonathan, who spells out words by using his eyes to pick out each individual letter displayed on a board.


I found it a deeply moving programme. Truth is, it made me cry, it made me smile, and it most importantly, it made me think…

Words. We take them for granted, and without a cost attached, we can open our mouths without thinking.
But watching Jonathan spell out each word, letter by letter with his gaze, puts speech into perspective.
– It gives a completely different meaning to the phrase:

‘spelling it out!’

There’s a point in the programme where his mother, Chantal, says:
“He spelt out ‘i— l-o-v-e—y-o-u’. He’s chosen to write that, and that makes such a difference because you know that’s exactly what he wants to say.”
How different our exchanges with strangers, friends and family might be, if we knew that the words they were saying to us, and us to them, were carefully chosen.
How different it would be, if our words were really thought-full.
– It gives a completely different meaning to the expression:

‘choosing your words!’

In the programme we see (teacher) Sarah and Chantal enabling Jonathan to communicate with the Government Minister for Vulnerable Children & Families. Jonathan campaigns for children to have the opportunity to be taught to read and write, no matter what their disability. It has from his own experience of being denied opportunities by Authority, that this Teach Us Too call has arisen. He spelt out to the Minister “I come as a voice for the voiceless”.
He truly does, and to quote Sarah: “[he] doesn’t make a sound, but has such a lot to say”.
– It gives a completely different meaning to the expression:

‘finding your voice!’

We need people to help us find our true voice. People who believe in us; people who can see locked-in potential; people who enable and encourage. And we need to be that kind of people, to others.
Towards the end of the programme we see Jonathan meeting his champion author, Michael Morpurgo. It is an intensely moving scene. Both show one another deep respect. It’s the stuff of real, connected humanity.
Mr Morpurgo later says: “Meeting you that day has left its mark on me. It’s a memory I shall hold dear for the rest of my life.”

I’m not surprised. Jonathan’s faith shines out from his face, and his poems.
Although a trauma resulted in him being born with cerebral palsy, with many challenging effects, there is a huge ‘but’ in his life: “I never let it hold me back… I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I’m determined to make the most of my life… I’m going to make every moment count”. His blog is testament to this!
Jonathan surely understands the meaning of life in all its fullness…

Truth is… I have come in order that you might have life, life in all its fullness.  (John 10:10)

A little bit of encouragement…

I recently heard a heart-warming story about someone who’d found her voice, or more accurately, had re-discovered her voice. I don’t know all the details, but the point is that at a large family gathering her delight in singing was rekindled.


My guess is that she hasn’t had many opportunities to sing in recent years, so her reflective comment “all you need is a little bit of encouragement” really caught my attention.
How right she is! We all need authentic encouragement to be our true selves.

I wonder how much goodness and giftedness lies within us, stunted or undiscovered –
maybe a dismissive classroom comment extinguished an emerging talent in us,
or maybe we haven’t always ‘fitted in’ and consequently stay on the margins,
or perhaps our reluctance to be open to constructive criticism has prevented us from moving forward.

Situations like these may have arisen through no fault of our own, while others may be of our own making. Whatever, we have a choice. To remain stuck in a rut, or to step out.

That’s where encouragement can pull us to our feet –
the encouragement of others,
and as a believer, I’m adding the encouragement of God to the list!
In stepping out, the encouraged can in turn become the encourager, and so goodness and giftedness is perpetuated.

The word ‘courage’ lies within ‘encouragement’. It can nudge us to have a go at something, and to keep going when the going gets tough.


‘Truth is…’ is testament to this. It arose from what I sensed was a God-prod, and when I’ve wavered, the encouragement that’s come from ‘likes’ ‘shares’ and comments has been uplifting because truth is, I struggle with self-doubt.

I guess I’m not alone in this. But the way to stop being a shrinking violet is to stand tall –
to come out of the shadows into the light,
to take our place in the Sun,
and to find our hearts and hands and voices in whatever ways are fitting.
As Gok says:

“It’s all about the confidence”  

Truth is“Encourage one another and help one another” 1 Thessalonians 5:11


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