Wednesday, August 2, 2017

     I have been a Toastmaster off and on for over 30 years. This summer, I was seriously considering dropping out, as I was thinking “Am I getting too old for this?” I decided to go to a meeting in order to make up my mind. Once I got there and got into the spirit of the club—promoting excellence in public speaking and communicating, I decided to stick with it. A few weeks later and now VP of Membership, i am happy with my decision. Here is one good reason.

     This man, our former president, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Not only was that a tragic and terrifying diagnosis for him, but the tumor is right at the spot which would affect his reading, comprehension and speaking. He is in week two of radiation and chemo. If I were him, the last thing on my mind would be giving a speech. But that’s exactly what he did last night, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The courage of this man to get up and tell his story while he is living it was truly heart-wrenching. He didn’t present it like “Feel sorry for me.” He presented it as a call to “be open to the positive energy around us.” His wife was there, also a Toastmaster, silently weeping so proud, scared and grateful for the support of our members, their friends. 

      I have a handful of friends dealing with life-threatening illnesses, so I am in tune with the terror these people are experiencing, and I know I am certainly not immune to dealing with something like this one day. Illness is so random, and good people seem to suffer unfairly. Some of my healthiest, most fit friends are battling disease daily. 

      I am so glad I decided to stay in this group. I saw their love and support for this kind man last night, and I want to be part of this positive energy. There is much of it in the world, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t make headlines.