I love speaking and teaching.

It’s a gift God has given to me: he wrote me into a family of storytellers, entertainers, captivators of a room. And now, this next chapter of my career unfolds with one opportunity after another to take the stage, wear the mic, and tell a story.

There is a certain strength I can claim when I am speaking, and I have just enough to carry me to the finish line. Once it’s finished and I’ve said my last goodbye, I sink to the floor like a deflating helium balloon that’s seen its best a few days ago.

It drains out of me so quickly, it’s really laughable.

I had just finished an event, and my mom and I were heading back to the hotel. That car ride was all it took; I was as lifeless as a rag doll.

Nothing left. Zip. Nada.

Actually, my mom was in fairly the same condition. She pulled into the parking space, turned off the car, and we both stared straight ahead. Unblinking.

She looked down at my black, patent leather heels.

“Do your feet hurt?”

“Yes.”

She meant to say next, ‘Well, just get inside the hotel lobby and you can take your shoes off.’

Instead, her drained brain said, “Well, just get your shoes out of the parking lot.”

Ummmm. Hmm. We each looked at each other blankly, trying to find any meaning in those words.

As if in the morning I would wake up and think, “Where, oh where, are my shoes? Oh, that’s right. I left them in the parking lot.”

And that’s when the laughter hit us both. The exhausted laughter – there’s nothing like it.

And then I could barely make it into the hotel because I was doubled over in laughter, hobbling on throbbing feet, and nearly peeing my pants.

So, if I have the honor of speaking at an event you attend, and if perhaps you think, “Oh, there she is! There’s the girl I remember!” Please remind yourself: I’m walking in borrowed strength and clarity.

You should see me two hours later, when I’m a spineless invertebrate, a limp washcloth.

Or, just look for my shoes. They’re likely in the parking lot.

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