All Right, Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready for my Colonoscopy
Last night, I stood in front of a group of one hundred or more bar patrons at a story-telling event in Long Beach, Ca.
Because of nerves, it was far from perfect. Watching this video the morning after, there’s a shortlist of things I see that I wish I wouldn’t—or would have—done. It’s 20/20 after all. I see that I forgot to smile, I wish my energy was a little more upbeat, I see that I forgot a small chunk (but thankful I didn’t realize it in real-time, because I know I would have freaked)…but here’s what I did do:
I showed up. I was terrified, and I did it anyway.
My tummy was rumbling and it wasn’t perfect, but the world doesn’t need our perfection. The world needs our heart. As I was speaking, I could tell I was connecting with the audience. I could see it in their faces and many of them shared with me afterward that what I said impacted them deeply—the sense I felt was that through my vulnerability and risk, I offered hope.
Even Academy Award-winning composer, musician, songwriter and actor, Paul Williams, who happened to be in the audience may agree. Okay, so I just name-dropped. After my courage last night, I’ve earned it. I saw him nodding as I spoke. I saw his eyes.
~~And I feel bold using this word, but since I was bold last night, I’m going to do it again. When I stood up there and revealed my imperfect heart and could sense it was touching others, it felt holy.
Dare I say, sort of like holy communion.
A friend from afar, who knew I was speaking at the time, texted me this quote. I saw it after I’d sat down from my talk:
“What does the world need? It needs holy moments. That’s all.”
I didn’t know the source, so I Googled it this morning. Here it is in context:
“What does the world need? It needs holy moments. That’s all. The solution is usually simpler than we imagine. History is a collection of holy moments and unholy moments. Our desire to see the world change is a desire to see the holy moments outweigh the unholy.” – Matthew Kelly, taken from Rediscover the Saints
As I walked back to my seat last night, I passed by Paul Williams who was sitting along the aisle and I heard and saw him say to the person next to him, “That was an amazing story.” If you know his prolific career, you know he’s a story-teller.
Because I’m my harshest critic, I don’t think the way I delivered it was so amazing, but when I step back and get a little perspective, I see that it is indeed an amazing story. And since I desire to see change in the world, I push myself past nausea and spontaneous, pre-speech colonic and stand. I also know that by doing so, I will see change in me.
For one, I may be a little lighter today.
Simply, my history is a collection of holy moments that outweigh the unholy.
I bet yours is, too.
(Note: The main part that I forgot when I delivered this speech was a short, yet important explanation of what my shame and fear were about. My shame was my dirty identity and my fear was that my biological parents would get me back. That was the “cloud” that chased me for so many years. I think it’s a natural tendency for people to maybe take a look at my life at face value and ask, “What’s the big deal? You had/have it great. You were rescued by these wonderful people at a young age and everything worked out…”
These things were not mutually exclusive. There is SO much at play just below the surface…)