Public Speaking

I would like to share publicly a dream I've had in secret for quite some time. I have a desire to be a public speaker. To stand up in front of a church, or retreat, or really any group or gathering and share something I've prepared.

Some of you who've seen me in social settings might wonder at this, as I am often shy, awkward, and I am even likely to stumble over my words when put on the spot.

But perhaps those of you who have seen me back in my acting days on stage or those of you who have ever seen me give a wedding toast (like this one) might understand.

There is a big difference between crafting and delivering prepared words to fall on the ears of an audience and carrying on a conversation.

For me public speaking seems to hit a sweet spot between many of the other things I have longed to do in my adult life.

It started with a hidden desire in high school. I wanted to be pastor, more specifically a teaching pastor. There was a season where I would write sermons in my free time. Pages of sermons never spoken hid tucked between homework lessons.

Then came speech class and acting and I found a home, places my heart thrived.

Then a desire to teach and mentor youth - to instruct and guide, inspire and encourage. In my young college days these things brought a passion to my heart and a fire to my voice.

And through it all I crafted words. Always imagining in my writing that I was delivering the message, the story, the thought, directly to an audience. Writing it as I would speak it. Utilizing incomplete sentences for the effect of how they would sound being delivered from lips to ears. From vibrations to thoughts.

Public speaking stands out as the sweet spot between all these things. The secret longing that ties other interests together.

It is a dream I have that often feels like a pipe dream. Hollow of meaning because it feels so far off. Hollow of purpose - because who am I to stand up in front of a group and what message could I possibly deliver?

But lately it has seemed a little closer and yet more expensive.

In recent months I have often heard a whisper...

"Your husbands illness and death could be the platform for this dream. Your current pain could be the message that sends you toward that desire."

And my heart breaks.

Too costly.

I don't know yet how Bryan's cancer will end, but I know this: I desire nothing as much as I desire having him live.

I want this dream. I deeply long to have a voice in the world. I want not only to write, but to deliver my writing to an audience. But not at that price.

I would rather continue as nothing more than a housewife, whose voice matters to no one beyond her own children and have Bryan's hand in mine than have all my dreams, this one and others, come true at the cost of loosing him.

At times I try to hold loosely to all I love, and all I long for, saying to God "whatever you will", but tonight my hands are clenched around my husbands, "I want him, Lord, no other path. Please. No other path."

Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany