Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Practically Perfect in Every Way

Several years ago my Bible study of 350 women needed a substitute lecturer and Elisa was asked if she would pray about stepping into that role.
She said "Yes. Yes."
She asked me for some pointers --  as I was traveling the country as a motivational speaker at that time.
Elisa was a buttoned up girl.  She was a Bond Trader on Wall Street,  had two children who were well behaved and a handsome husband who worshipped her. Practically perfect.
I knew that whatever she presented would be thoroughly researched and accurate but one thing I had learned from my mentor Marcia Riley was that at the onset of any presentation  the speaker should become vulnerable to the audience.  There is always a little resistance to "the expert" at the front of the room.  Who does she(he)  think she is anyway?
Marcia struggles with her weight  so she usually opens with  a funny story about her weight issues. She knows the problem is evident anyway.  They all have a big laugh and the group shifts from being critical of her to being her cheerleaders. 
People connect with our vulnerabilities not strengths.
'Mary Poppins' aka Elisa must have taken my advice to heart.
On her first day she was dressed in a designer suit with not a hair out of place. She opened with the story of her son's birth.  This is a  universal story women love to share.
She had ignored her labor pains because she wasn't sure it was the real thing (no sympathy yet from those of us who bit bullets in two at the first twinge).
When she finally called her husband to come home from the office she was in soap opera pain.  She called the police and told Dave they would meet him at the hospital.
She didn't know much about what to expect from childbirth but she did understand that the baby's head coming out in the backseat of the cruiser was an important thing to share with the officers in front.
They pulled into the emergency lane of one of the busiest streets of  Mainline Philadelphia, flung open the back door (facing traffic) peeled off her pantie hose and oh, my gosh delivered that baby in rush hour traffic.
A hush fell over that sanctuary and every woman in that room saw her in a whole new light.
She assured us she had not been the least bit concerned about vanity she was just happy to have that bundle of joy out of her and safe.
We surmised this is a woman to have over when the house is a mess.  This is a woman to be trusted when my life isn't turning out as planned.
This was a woman that  earned the right to be heard.
And we did listen for years of teachings.  First with our hearts and then with our heads.
It was perfect.

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