Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Reluctant Speaker

I've written before about how public speaking is NOT my favorite thing to do. It's not the "public" aspect that's the problem; it's the actual "speaking" that I dread! I always think, "If I could just speak normally, this wouldn't be so bad!" But I don't have normal-sounding voice, so I feel very self-conscious about speaking in public. Nevertheless, I've made a personal promise to myself to never turn down an opportunity to speak if/when I'm asked, so I always agree.

I spoke to two different groups of people in the month of May. The first was on Mother's Day, and I spoke to the congregation where I go to church. My talk was on the plan of salvation (basically, the purpose of life). Of course, my accident figured greatly into what I said, because that huge, life-changing event has changed me in every way, including my perspective and outlook on life. My accident has definitely increased my understanding in some some complex areas, such as the purpose of life and why God allows us go through the things we do, even if they are very difficult and unpleasant. This is a quote that I used in my remarks:

"If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective."  – Spencer W. Kimball

Then, this past Sunday my mom and I went to another nearby ward (or congregation) and we gave a combined lesson to all of the youth and adults (which was everyone age 12 and up). Our lesson was on maintaining hope in the midst of trials and adversity. Again, I didn't want to do this, but of course, I said yes when I was asked. My mom and I came up with a lot of good thoughts, and we both found a lot of good quotes to use (I'm posting one below). I started bawling and completely embarrassed myself when my mom was closing and was reading an excerpt from an article that I found the previous week. It was very moving, so it could easily cause someone to cry, but since I'm always so good at maintaining my composure, I was shocked that I cried, especially since I'd listened to/read the article five times and was very familiar with it. Crying in public is so embarrassing, especially when you can't even use your hands to hide your face and/or wipe your tears!

"Life is hard. There are times when we question, when we lack confidence in ourselves and in our abilities to triumph over adversity, when we lose hope. Often it can feel like our trials will never end. … we need to seek out those assurances that tell us there will be reprieve from our trials." 

Both of these speaking engagements went well, and I'm glad that they are in my past! I'm always filled with dread when a speaking opportunity comes to me, but I know it's good for me, as well as for other people, so I never object. I really feel like part of the reason why I survived my accident is so that I can spread joy and hope in Jesus Christ to the rest of the world.

2 comments:

Pink said...

You go girl! :) you are making a difference in other people's lives which is the greatest gift anyone can give.

Julie said...

Heather,

I'm so proud of you for taking on these speaking engagements, especially when it would be so much easier to refuse them. You have so much of value to say, whether in person or through your writing on your blog. And crying in public? Don't give that a second thought! That's just your honesty and sincerity coming through. Your presence is a blessing to all of us. Thank you.

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