A week later…. I am sitting on my front porch, reflecting on my TedX experience. I am far enough away to reminisce on the beauty of the experience and yet still trembling at the gut feeling from just a week ago.
I hear a child calling my name and I get up from my beloved swing only to find that I am covered in a blanket of yellow.
My first thoughts consist of the frustration— the pollen is everywhere! On my car, on my porch, all over my clothes— in my head! And then I have a realization and give myself an embarrassed snicker. I have been waiting, okay DYING for this beautiful weather. With the endless rain this winter, I longed for the spring pops of color. And here I was about to complain about the thing I longed for.
There have been many stretching moments in my career, and the TedX process is one that will sit amongst the furthest to stretch me. The process begins in September, more than half a year before the actual event. The nomination, interview, the idea presentation.... the wait. I cannot even count the number of times I thought, “Is my idea good enough? Do I have what it takes to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Am I qualified to talk on behalf of the amazing people I serve in this national format?”
And then October the email comes—you’ve been selected! That’s when the gut punch began.
Life is busy, and when I was busy, I would not think about it. But in the quiet moments, fear began to weigh in and I began to doubt myself and this opportunity.
I attended the first welcome event in November, the curation team meeting in January and many subsequent meetings the next several weeks. As March approached, so did the final script of the idea. And then it was memorize, memorize, memorize. As the day looms, the most important question became, what will I wear? (Kidding... Kinda… Banana Republic clearance rack and my sweet sister to the rescue—check!)
And then the day arrives. I set out on a prayer walk to calm my nerves and experience the beauty around me. I find the award winning yard in my neighborhood perfectly manicured yet containing one beautiful dandelion. And as I turn the corner to head home, I see another sweet neighbor spraying his yard with weed killer. If you have heard my talk, you understand this significance. I considered both of these encounters as humorous reminders that there is a much bigger story being written that is not my own. I am simply the messenger.
And then the night arrives. I think of 100,000 things that could go wrong. The wait feels like an eternity. I watch as my colleague presenters go before me, nailing it one by one. My heart so proud of them and yet the growing nervousness to fall in line grew by the minute.
And as I waited in the wings, my name was called. I walked to the big red round rug— what before seemed like a confinement now gave me a sense of comfort. The lights shined bright….. would I be able to rise to the occasion?
I remember feeling a sense of being wrapped in the familiar voices and cheers in the crowd.
And then just like that, it was over. In twilight zone form it came.... and it went.
It happened. Was I happy with the result? There are things I would tweak here and there. I am sure when the full video comes out there will be several other personal critiques. I have been tempted to feel insecure about what I would have changed and yet, today….. my yellow coated pants gave me a reminder…
Despite how I feel about “how I did” or about myself…. as I woke up each day this week and walked throughout my house, I was surrounded by yellow flowers and cards from my husband, my family, my friends, my team and my colleagues. Stories were shared with me this week—words of encouragement, responses of the talk, mindset changes, the long Java Joy lines at intermission, tears that were shed and even college majors that were changed because of what came out on Friday night. The amazing support system was clear that night, the weeks leading up to and the week following.
Just as the blanket of pollen is evidence of the beauty of spring that surrounds us, so were those gifts, those words, that encouragement evidence of the good of the tribe who surround me.
I am thankful to have gone through the TedX journey, but I am more thankful for the evidence of the good that surrounds. Thank you to my amazing student team, to my colleagues like See.Spark.Go who inspire and push me to do these crazy things, friends for your encouragement, to my staff who were patient, family for your physical and emotional support, joyristas who encouraged me up until the hour and to my husband, my biggest fan.
Who surrounds you and covers you with love?
Instead of conforming to the annoyance mentality of pollen, maybe it can be a reminder of the goodness that falls on you and the season of goodness that is still to come. Where is the evidence of those who love and support you? Enjoy that evidence and may you be that blanket of good to others.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for HE is GOOD. His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1