How to connect with absolutely everyone. Life Lesson #12

Not everyone succeeds. But everyone hurts.

I’ve done public speaking for years. Communicated, written, told stories. Judging by the general response, I’m not boring. My wife, on the other hand, dislikes the public stage passionately.  Crowds of more than 20 people are uncomfortable to her.

But in 2005, almost a decade before I write this, she was conned into speaking at a women’s tea. Her expectation was for maybe 50 ladies to attend. Imagine her terror when we arrived to find a tent set up for 500. Completely packed.

Tahnya simply told her story of pain. Of infertility and depression. To this day, people still consistently mention that event. No one ever mentions a sermon I preached. I mean, we really can’t go anywhere in Minnesota where someone doesn’t talk to her about that speech. And they speak of it as if she gave it last year.

Why? Because not everyone succeeds, swims with sharks, skydives, lives in radical environment. But everyone, from presidents to nursing home residents, we all hurt. We all experience pain. And when someone is authentic (there’s a buzzword for ya), it opens up others to experiencing life together in a meaningful way.

If you want to lead, if you want to connect, if you want to make a difference, remember. Pain is a megaphone that everyone can hear.

48 thoughts on “How to connect with absolutely everyone. Life Lesson #12”

  1. Kid you not, I was thinking about her and this talk earlier today! Why, I can’t say for sure, other than thinking about what has set Tahnya apart from other relationships from that time and how I hope to be Christ to other people in pain as she has been for me.

    I was nervously serving at that tea; knew I’d see people who’d wonder what had happened to me, but wanted to go because I’d heard a missionary would be sharing. Her words took my breath away. There were just tears.

    I had not seen your family since my fall from grace and it was like she SAW my heart. In a terrifying, stark confrontation of people from my recent past, I expected the usual response–to be “unnoticed” or angrily confronted– I was scared to even say “hi,” but got a hug and a real conversation instead. I was so moved by her kindness that I hid in the restroom till I could compose myself.

    I had never heard someone in her position share with such honesty and relatability, willing to forsake pride/ego/reputation for the greater good of connecting women’s broken hearts with their Father and with each other.

    I’m just one story of that day, but Tahnya ought to know, as I have mentioned previously to some extent, that her God-glorifying soul-baring moment in that tent was a turning point for my return to authentic (yep, buzzword) grace and relationship.

    Great life lesson here–I count this win over pain that was on its way to terminating my life as real success.

    No words will ever do for the thank you in my heart.

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