Can I Get a Witness?

Here I go again with a song invading my head and the repetition of words propelling me to process the thoughts surrounding the lyrics. This is the question I want to answer in this article is WHY?

  • Why am I writing articles instead of focusing on the client work I need to complete?
  • Why am I spending a lot of time on LinkedIn and BIZCATALYST 360° when the likelihood of it resulting in future business is pretty slim. After all, I fully understand the principles of “dollar productive activity” and this kind of activity really doesn’t qualify.
  • Why am I departing from my primary business of ghostwriting for others and feel strongly compelled to write about my own experience – warts and all.

The Human Need For a Witness

I first was exposed to the concept of the importance of a witness when I watched something on TV. I don’t remember if it was a movie or television show. What I do remember is it was said by the person officiating a wedding. He said the couple would be a witness to the lives of each other and pointed out the importance of this role. It stuck with me and it explains a lot about the longing to be significant to others…or at least acknowledged.

The song, “Can I Get a Witness” was made most popular by the Rolling Stones. However, before they put the tune out into the airwaves to become a hit, it had been recorded by both Marvin Gaye and The Temptations.

Suspecting there was more to the phrase than a tune about being mistreated by a woman, I dug deeper. The phrase turns out to be a very spiritual phrase used by African American pastors for a long time. When the preacher asks the congregation “Can I get a Witness?” he is asking for the congregation to affirm his statement with “Amen.” You can learn more about the history of this song and this phrase here.

We ALL Need Affirmation

Earlier this week, one of the men made a comment about how he was alone – except for his wife. My emotional reaction and my comments were of jealousy. One person who is always present to witness our lives is a rich blessing. For those of you about to pull your hair out because your family is driving you crazy, try to imagine being totally alone other than the virtual connections made from a digital device.

It’s different and it doesn’t provide the same level of connectedness.

I am connected to a very outstanding man. We’ve been going out to elegant restaurants about once per week and occasionally taking road trips together for almost two years. Since I am an introvert who really loves her own company, it has been enough companionship for me. While we have seen each other a couple of times as the lockdown has ratcheted down on our lives, it probably won’t happen now because of the increasing risks. I miss him.

Way back in 2013, Psychology Today published an article about this phenomenon. Called “The Power and Strength of Bearing Witness,” It digs deep into this need and also quotes Maya Angelou (My favorite philosopher.)

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.

I guess Maya really hit the nail on the head. While I have work needing my attention, my need to tell my story is a powerful force in me.

How I Cope and Find a Witness

I mentioned the BIZCATALYST 360° community earlier. While I suspect it will be much harder to participate in the community when I get back to a normal work schedule, for now, the interactions with high-quality people are extremely nourishing for me. I keep repeating my gratitude in my own comments because the appreciation I feel for this community is real and it is significant.

Yesterday, I had a study group meeting on Zoom. I used to participate in ACIM (A Course in Miracles) groups on a weekly basis. The ones I have found here in Houston just don’t come close to matching the experiences I had in a couple of groups in the suburbs of The Woodlands and Spring. So, I have just tried to live by the principles and occasionally read a passage on my own. The connection I felt was just what I needed. Students of ACIM just think differently than those who haven’t embraced the book. Because of the quarantine, one group had a Zoom meeting and I was able to participate. Again, I am grateful.

Gifts of the Quarantine

Things will be different after the quarantine. I would say when things become normal again, but we all know normal will be different in and of itself. We are in the process of redefining our priorities right now and all those who do more than survive will find a way to thrive as a result of this experience.

  • New babies will be born this fall and their legacy will begin with this time of our lives stamped on it forever.
  • Couples will decide to stop trying to make the marriage last. While divorce is thought to be a bad thing, I for one can say it can be a wonderful opening to a new, more valuable life for the individuals who are parting ways.
  • Efficiencies of digital relationships and workplaces are now more than theoretical. We’ve known we can save time, money and the environment by working at home for a long time. More businesses will take this experiment in virtual business and apply it to their operation long term.
  • Memories will be made. However, it’s done this time will be memorable. Families who struggled, strategized and suffered will look back on these days as a defining time in the family unit. Couples will be forced to look at what their relationship means to them together and individually. People living alone will appreciate any witness they are able to conjure up for their lives.

We will be better in the days ahead. It is more than survival. It is transformation.


Kate Frank
Kate Frankhttp://[email protected]
Kate Frank rediscovered her gift for writing at the age of 52. Since then she has been a published author in 5 books, dozens of nationally distributed magazines and has three websites where she regularly contributes content. However, most of her time is spent writing for others. Ghostwriting books for Authority Level clients is the culmination of everything she has learned through the years. In the last 5 years, Kate has ghostwritten books for more than 12 published and delighted authors. She has also written more than 1,000 articles published in some of the most prestigious online magazines in the world. However, they were mostly published in the names of her clients. Ms. Frank is a complete nerd about the art and science of making a nonfiction book profitable. Her services include ghostwriting, of course. What makes her a different sort of writer is the research she has done to develop a program called the RICH Author Method. Download a free introduction to the concept HERE. Her second passion is a belief in human imperfection. Self-acceptance requires we embrace our differences. It is also the cornerstone of compassion for others. As a contributor to the best-selling book “Make it a Great Day”, her chapter is Manual for Misfits. This chapter represents her deeply held belief it is in the places where we don’t fit in we find our greatest gifts. Kate invites the reader to reach out to her via email: [email protected]. She welcomes your comments. Also, visit her passion blog: Passion for Imperfection to learn more about the joys and gifts of not being average.

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  1. Well said, Kate: “We are in the process of redefining our priorities right now.” This thought is very much on my mind right. I’m asking myself, “Where do I take certain activities.” I’m at a potential turning point in a couple of areas of my life and rather than think through things totally on my own, I’ve turned to a friend who is, well, skilled in helping people think deeply in the spirit of Nancy Kline’s TIME TO THINK. It’s an interesting process. I guess he/she is my witness. Or one of them.

    • We all have many witnesses and they come to us on a number of levels. When we are open to being truly seen for who we are, it helps us grow in ways we would not do if left on our own. Thanks for your comment Jeff.

    • Thanks Larry. I took me a lot of years to even recognize I am a writer. It came so easy for me, I didn’t realize it was a “thing”. When my real estate career crashed during the recession, I had to look at what skills I might be able to use. It has been a lifesaver for me.

  2. Thank you for this, Kate! What a lovely and thought-provoking article! When I first started writing for Bizcatalyst360 late last summer, I had more time, which changed when I returned to my frantic, over-the-top schedule. Anyway, as you can see, I continue to write. For me, writing continues to open my mind, and I believe in the Butterfly Effect. Something positive recently happened because of my connection to this remarkable community. You never know where relationships will bring you. Thank you again.💖

    • Darlene, I have benefited greatly from being in this community – even if it does not yield me one single writing project. It’s been so long since I wrote with my own byline, it really feels good to use writing as a tool for processing my thoughts. Thanks for your comment.

    • We can only hope for a butterfly effect. I write for my own sanity and only hope it helps others.