Overwhelming Love    by    Ruth Utnage

Have you felt overwhelming love? The kind that envelops you to an uncomfortable point because you’re not sure how to respond? That happened to me last Sunday at Toastmasters. We had a speaking event called Game Changers, the theme was a way to talk about those life altering, course-redirecting events that make you say “Now that’s a game changer!”.

There were 8 of us originally speaking. I’ve had so many game changing moments in my prison sentence that I could speak all weekend about them. I focused on one in particular, a spiritual event that allowed me to acknowledge self-worth, to say the least. I gave the speech, my nerves were firing, not a typical response from me but I made it through and as soon as the speech was over I went to take my seat amid the standing ovation and began crying. The emotion of recounting that day to so many people was simply too much.

Much to my surprise, as I recovered in the back of the room, I hear the next speaker make a reference about me. He went on to say I was his game changer, then the next speaker did the same, then the next did the same, then half the room stood up and said I had directly influenced their lives positively. It was the kind of love that I didn’t know how to process.

I shut down. My body went on autopilot and I did my best to not feel embarrassment or shame outwardly, to be gracious about the public displays but all I could think about was the people in the room who also didn’t know this was happening and were uncomfortable, maybe jealous or even angry. Nobody said anything, of course, but it didn’t stop me from thinking it. The kind of love I don’t know what to do with, yet. It was incredible to see, however, that I am making a difference in our community. Many of these folks are releasing soon to a home near you and the ones I’ve helped directly and indirectly are more focused on getting their lives put together and building support systems than committing crimes or victimization. I’ll take it.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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If someone in your life has influenced a positive change in you, say something about it, let them know. Contact me then…

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