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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: What Have I Done
By Beth B


Sue arrived at the meeting early but almost bolted before she entered the room. Someone called out her name, and now she couldn’t make a fast exit. It was April, the friend she always sat with during the meetings. There was no turning back. Sue picked up her name tag, pinned it on her sweater, and then she and April found a seat. They caught up on family news.

“So what have you been working on lately?” Sue inquired.

“Not too much. We’ve been busy remolding our house, along with watching the grandkids.”

Sue envied her. April’s ancestors came to America on the Mayflower, but mine didn’t arrive until the early 1920’s.

“How about you? Any recent discoveries?”

“I’ve been …”

The president of the local genealogical society stood at the podium and began to speak. Those milling around, quickly found seats. You could hear a pin drop. What did she say? It might be quiet in the room, except for the president speaking, but a war waged in Sue’s mind. It appeared that bees had found an open passage and were buzzing throughout her stomach. What did she say about the next meeting? Who would speak next month? Sue attempted to breathe deeply without making it obvious. One leg began to shake. She hoped it wasn’t noticeable to those around her. She said a prayer and asked the Lord to help calm her spirit. Many times, Sue had heard Joyce Meyer say to “do it afraid.” She attempted to act on the advice. How did she get herself into this?

A few months ago, Debbie asked if Sue would share a personal genealogical story. She surprised herself and said yes. What was she thinking? Striking her head, she wondered what had she done? She knew public speaking wasn’t her forte. She avoided it like the H1N1. Maybe there was a cancel clause. She couldn’t renege. What would people think? They would call her a coward. She couldn’t back-out. She said yes. She needed to be dependable and keep her word. What if her family, who lives two-thousand miles away, visited - unexpectedly? Sorry Debbie, no can do. Family unexpectedly dropped by. Probably not.

A voice brought Sue back to the present. There she was. Debbie. The culprit who had cornered Sue and asked her to speak. Imaginary daggers were thrown her way.

“April, I’m a bit nervous,” Sue admitted.

“You’ll do just fine,” April said, as she patted Sue’s arm.

Debbie stood at the podium and announced, “Next, Sue will share a personal story.”

Sue shook her head. Yikes! It’s show time. With a quite prayer, she grabbed her notes and walked toward the podium. She hugged the podium like Linus, clinging to his blanket. She scanned the crowd, smiled, and began.

She shared the journey of searching for her father’s birth family. The search began without a name - well only the first letter of the last name. How could one find a family with so little to go on? The journey was engrained in her soul. She continued without another glance at her notes. The group laughed when she shared about waiting for a month to hear from the adoption agency representative, only to find out the person helping her had retired. At one point, Sue asked if she was talking too long. The group smiled. That’s all the encouragement she needed to continue. Sue concluded that it took four-years to search and find her father’s birth family. Her premise: nothing is impossible.

Sue was energized from her speech. Debbie, remember her? The speaker coordinator? She approached Sue afterwards and thanked her for speaking. Believe it or not, Sue thanked her for being asked to speak. She was grateful to God for His help and strength. But you won’t see Sue back at the podium any time soon; she’s planning an extended vacation from speaking engagements.

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This article has been read 381 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca09/17/10
This story really aroused my curiosity. I kept wondering what the speaker had to hide, if anything. Very suspenseful.
Sarah Heywood09/17/10
This piqued my interest because I recently requested some family history info from my grandma (who is approaching 90) and, to my delight, received it in the mail last week. It is so fascinating to learn about those we came from, isn't it?

Watch your tenses. I noticed in one paragraph you switched from third to first.

Great story - I could really feel the main character's nervousness!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/18/10
This was a nice story. Personally I'm a big ham and love to speak in public. You really showed me the fears and nerves that most people have. I laughed at the last line.

I did notice once you went from the third person to first. But when telling a true story in the third person I once switched from she to I half- way through; I didn't catch nor did my several proof readers. Finally just before I hit submit I noticed it so I totallyunderstand. Great story overall I look forward to reading more of your stories.
Christina Banks 09/20/10
I'm glad that Sue's experience went well. I ended up speaking at my High School graduation. Just before I got up to speak, the boy next to me - "Mr. Drama Club". Asked to see my notes. I, being the trusting individual that I am, handed them over. Mr. Drama Club stuffed them in his pocket and smiled as the principal called my name to speak. I could have killed Mr. Drama Club, but I was shaking too bad from nerves. Things ended up well, and I actually thanked Mr. Drama Club after I was finished.