A couple of years ago, I received a very unexpected mind blowing, body shaking, life changing phone call from a gentleman named Chris Spalding, who I found to be a fellow ballroom dancer. This was completely out of the blue. Chris told me that he had seen Mayo and I perform at Michigan Dance Challenge and it was inspiring. It stayed with him. He then went onto share parts of his battle and journey with a brain tumor. Chris was brave enough, courageous enough, and comfortable enough with being vulnerable to tell me that he has experienced some dark times through this process AND what’s gotten him through it, what’s lifted his spirts and brought him some positivity is the phrase “making lemonade.” This phrase is so simple but has such a universal and powerful presence. Chris continued to explain that whenever he said that mantra, he would think of me. He would think of all that I’ve been through and how I’m still able to be positive and help other people. This man called out of the blue to tell me that I have been his inspiration, the art that Mayo and I ￼created together has been his inspiration
while he fights for his life.
I’m still trying to process the deep moving beauty of that compliment. Because of this beautiful news that Chris shared with me we talked about how people should tell others how they feel. If you are inspired by someone, tell them. If you love someone, tell them (and it doesn’t have to be romantic love, because there are so many different kinds). If someone has changed, shaped, or impacted your life in a way that you feel is meaningful, tell them. If someone makes you happy, tell them. If you miss someone tell them. It doesn’t matter what your relationship is: a friend, family, romantic partner, someone you barely know, or a stranger. Chris and I don’t really know each other, and before last night you could say that we’re strangers, but Chris thank you for telling me. You’ve given me a gift that I’ve prayed for. Our heartfelt exchange was a gift from God, and something that I will always carry with me. Whenever the foundation talks about “making lemonade” this memory will be on the forefront of my mind, one that I will always be moved by and excited to share￼￼. Please, don’t keep your love to yourself, not when it’s meant to be given. Love openly. Love purely. Love proudly. Love truly to a friend, family, acquaintance, or stranger because if you do, you might just be loved unexpectedly.