It is the day before Christmas Eve. It is quiet. I’m alone thinking.
I am sitting in my office overlooking the corridors of Central Mall watching shoppers hustle to purchase last minute gifts. Most people don’t look very happy.
Inside my heart, I’m smiling. The best Christmas gift for me arrived earlier this month when I watched my twenty-seven year old daughter champion a fear. The fear of public speaking.
Amanda was asked to introduce me, her Mother, to an audience of global Novartis leaders at an international breast cancer symposium in San Antonio, Texas. Together, we were invited to share the real story of what it is like to fight cancer.
We have different stories.
Mine is about the physical and mental fight. Plus, how I use humor, helping others and public speaking to keep purpose and joy in my life. I shared my faith and my biggest fear which is the fear of hurting people I love as they are forced to take a front row seat and watch my cancer reality progress. That fact tears my heart apart.
Amanda’s speech left me breathless. My daughter stood so gracefully and spoke like a professionally trained public speaker. It was one of my proudest moments as her mother.
Just a few hours before it was time to gather in the green room, we were alone primping and preparing for our “on the big stage” speeches. During that time, the fear of public speaking started creeping in on her. I told her, “You can do this and when you do, you will know that you have conquered a fear. It will give you the best feeling, one that you will never forget so that the next time you have a fear of any kind, you will have this experience to remind you that you can do it.”
She did it! Fear did not steal her voice. The speech was beautiful and so moving. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. In fact, she did so well that we are being booked for another speech in January!
Amanda delivered my Christmas gift early this year. She let me know that my life has positively impacted her life and that we aren’t finished teaching each other life lessons and making memories.
She also reminded me that I too can conquer fear even if it means letting people love me and ultimately suffering the cost of caring. After all, wasn’t Christ born to give a similar gift to human kind? Isn’t the real meaning of Christmas centered on hope and love? Love isn’t always easy. Sometimes it means having to sacrifice. But to have love and be able to give love, now that is the best gift of all.
Thank you Amanda for your love, support and beautifully spoken words. You are my year around Christmas gift.