Knowing Your Audience

From the day we are born we have an audience. Whether or not they paid attention to your point of view was another matter, but I think we can all agree we’ve each had an audience for the entire time we’ve walked this planet, and today I start to learn the need to understand or “know” my audience as I prepare to open the door marked “cancer support group facilitator.”

You and I have been communicating to each other via the written word for a year now and as the stats would attest the words I’ve been lying down have reached forty of our united states and several Caribbean islands, our quiet neighbor to the north and even parts of Europe.

The number I have in my head regarding a total of “close friends” is probably less than fifty. My definition of a close friend is someone I would invite into my home, break bread at my table with my wife and children present, someone I have no fears of with regards to disrupting the harmony once the knock on the door has been responded to.

Yesterday I received the first real phone call from Cindi, the nurse navigator who asked me to start this Men’s (Husband) Cancer Support Group. I searched for something to write with, I felt my heart beat accelerating and I felt the onus of it all on my shoulders as I returned her phone call, or what I consider the knock on the door. However you define the arrival of news in your home is certainly up to you, but once it’s inside it’s now your responsibility to figure it out. So yesterday Cindi and I established some ground rules, set up our first meeting, and I learned there are four husbands “interested” in this support group that we are getting ready to kick off on February 2nd. She also provided my first tasking, my first phone call. First things first … Cindi was phenomenal on the phone with me yesterday, inserting positive tones whenever possible so I’m already starting to believe this support group is going to be something extremely beneficial, but you (my family in beating cancer) need to know you’ve been an audience that has read the news, read of the struggles, read of the achievements and made your own decisions to post comments.

This next chapter of face-to-face is going to be completely different and it’s NOW that I need to “know my audience”. My youngest daughter looked at me yesterday afternoon as I sat at the kitchen table, my cell phone, some scraps of paper when she then told me “Dad, I can go upstairs and leave you alone if you need it, and Dad … you’ll be fine, nothing to worry about” … so I made my first phone call into the unknown yesterday and with the guidance of my little girl things really did turn out okay. I called Cindi back to let her know how things went, I pushed away from the table and realized quickly this support group is not going to be as easy as blogging to each of you, though it’s something I am confident I’ll be able to manage.

Okay, now that it’s out of my system and I listen to the riffs of Lynyrd Skynyrd singing, appropriately enough “I Ain’t The One”, I think I know what it’s like to be born again (not in the Christian way).

Listen, fifty-one years ago, I had no idea who the audience was when I first opened my eyes. Things have since changed … I think. Stay with me.




3 thoughts on “Knowing Your Audience

  1. Paul, you are such a good man. I am honored to be a part of your audience. What you are doing is a calling and I know from the deepest part of my sole, you are up for the challenge. And remeber, whatever the outcome, you will make a difference. I know my angels are still at the Cheney house watching over you, so you can breath. God bless you all. If you need a chat –
    I am here my friend.

  2. Paul, I have no doubt that you will do more than succeed with this support group. Speak from your heart and be honest. I am sure all the questions and the feelings these men are experiencing are ones that you have encountered. You obviously were chosen to lead this group for a reason. Good luck!!! You will do great! xo

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