I delivered this speech on Saturday, September 30th, at the Toastmasters Area K1 Humorous Speech Contest representing Finlandia Toastmasters Club.
How many of you are in a relationship? Wonderful. I hope it’s a good one.
I’m in a love hate relationship.
I think I love her for all the right reasons. She is drop dead gorgeous. I feel incredibly alive when I am near her. My heart goes boom boom, my skin gets goosebumps. I get very excited when we are together.
But then sometimes, I could just … hate her. Because she is so unpredictable and sometimes she misbehaves. She is tempestuous and causes a lot of drama in my life and so much chaos in the lives of others.
Because you see, I am in a love hate relationship not with any person.
I am in a love hate relationship with Mother Nature.
That’s right. Mother Nature! Do you know why she is a she and not a he? Because no man would ever have the patience to give birth to every living creature since the beginning of time.
I love Mother Nature. Planet Earth is awesome. It has beauty and diversity. Just look at everyone in this room. And I love the little things like sunsets and rainbows and the colors of Autumn. I love how dogs spin around before lying down. I love how sand feels between my toes and fingers as I relax on a hot beach in Alicante, Spain.
But I hate Mother Nature too. For all the chaos and destruction she causes. For all the pain and suffering. For all the loss of life. I hate her because of all her natural disasters since the beginning of time, from Krakatoa to Pompei, to tsunamis and tornadoes and earthquakes in Mexico, to hurricanes such as Katrina, Harvey, Irma and Maria!
Oh… I despise Hurricane Maria. Carajo! I hate Mother Nature because Maria destroyed my island of Puerto Rico. The island where my parents were born. The island where my family still lives. The island where I used to live as a kid. The island full of 3.4 million Americans without electricity or drinkable water. How long would you live without power? How long would you last without a signal?
Mother Nature causes death and destruction and pain and suffering. But during these times when she pisses me off, I often think back to when I learned something from her. When I had a special moment with her. Because those lessons can be applied to Puerto Rico.
It was a sunny summer’s day. Probably the only sunny and hot day in Finland last Summer and I was lying on the warm grass at the summer cottage after mowing the lawn. Yes, I am Puerto Rican and I am from Florida and I enjoy doing yardwork.
Here I was relaxing when I noticed a bee flying around some flowers nearby. It was like a slow moving Chinook helicopter. Like one of Mother Nature’s miniature drones floating about. But I notice something very peculiar. Attached to one of its legs was the corpse of a dead, red ant!
I missed this battle royale of the bee and the ant, but I could imagine what happened.
Here was the bee going about its daily business, doing the old in/out, in/out, in/out with these yellow flowers picking up the sweet stuff to take back to his hive. When he was brutally attacked by an ant. He probably said, “Get of me bro!” and when the ant refused the bee stung and killed the ant. But now he has to live the rest of his days flying around with this dead enemy, because he can’t shake that ant off his leg.
We all can relate to the bee because it has to live with the scars of the battle, much like we live with our scars after our own battles. But we all move forward like the bee and continue on with our lives.
Then I saw the battle from the ant’s point of view. The ant was foraging for the same sweet stuff. He and his buddies were inside a flower and they heard a great noise when they were brutally attacked by a bee! The ant probably told his fellow soldiers, “Stand back, men! I got this!” He ran forward and bit the bee’s leg, the bee retreated and flew away, they wrestled and the bee stung the ant and killed him.
The ant sacrificed its life to save the lives of its fellow ants. Would you be willing to sacrifice your life to save someone else?
This story about the bee and the ant, I can apply to the situation in Puerto Rico. You see.
Like the bee, I know deep down inside that Puerto Rico and its people will bear the scars of hurricane Maria forever. I won’t recognize the island. But they will persevere and get through this difficult time. They will rebuild and eventually get on with their lives. They got hit hard, but they will bounce back.
Like the ant, I know that there are people right now sacrificing their time, money, energy, maybe even their lives and their health to help save others.
Yes. I have a love hate relationship with Mother Nature. One day she is drop dead gorgeous and the next, she can be a wicked witch.
But I can appreciate her lessons just by watching one of her bee’s in a few minutes time. If you open your eyes and observe Mother Nature during your very own special, quiet moments, you will see her beauty as well. You might even learn a lesson or two.
Yes. I love her and I hate her. But I think I have more love than hate. And you know what is even more comforting? I really believe that she loves me back.