Recently I saw one of those films that stays with you for the rest of your life, kinda like the first time I saw Chariots of Fire in 1982. I remember where I saw it and who I was with, even what I was wearing. Never went out with that boy again, but I remember that night like it was yesterday. The King’s Speech had that kind of effect on me, too, minus the boy.
I identified with King George VI. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been the ruler of a small country and I’ve never stuttered, but I grew up with a stammer of a different sort. Like King George VI, I, too, had trouble finding my voice. Until I found my own Lionel Logue.
Lionel Logue was the speech coach who helped King George VI manage the speech impediment that almost paralyzed him from the throne. The only way he would take on the King as a client was to work with him on his terms, on his turf, as his equal – as a friend – virtually unheard of for his royal blood. But when you hurt badly enough you’ll do just about anything.
That’s what got me on a plane every week 14 years ago, to see the man who helped me find my voice. A man who listened to me like the friend I’d never had, but who stood his ground, with no tolerance for my attempts to manipulate, rationalize and feel sorry for myself. Who helped me voice feelings I’d buried long before. Who cared deeply about the little girl inside of me who was still so afraid. Who was determined to help me see the woman he and others saw – the woman God made me to be.
That’s why King George VI insisted that Lionel Logue sit in the same box as his family at his coronation. And why they remained friends for the rest of their lives. You know, the stammering didn’t go away. It was still there, but it didn’t have the power anymore that it once did. Having someone believe you have something to say in the first place is quite a gift. Having them stand by you until you believe that yourself is the mark of an extraordinary friendship. I am blessed to have such a friend.
If you’re having trouble finding your own voice, just click on the couch….