In another couple of hours, I need to leave for tonight’s Christmas Eve celebration at church and I’m nervous. Somehow, I allowed myself to get talked into speaking. Ok, it’s only for five minutes, and it’s on the Course, so it’s not like it’s not a subject I couldn’t talk about for hours, but I have NO experience with public speaking. At least the other two speakers have given talks (sermons) and I know are good speakers, but ME?????
I mean, I’ve given the announcements for Youth church a few times but I’d hardly call that public speaking.
This is an exercise in trust. It is an exercise in letting Spirit lead me. I just ate lunch and I want to throw up. I was already on the docket to sing, which is bad enough, but at least I love singing. I don’t know that I love public speaking, plus even though I love to sing I still get nervous. I sang at the Christmas party at church but by the time they got around to the musical entertainment portion of the afternoon, most of the congregation had left. There were less than a dozen people there. I doubt this will be well attended either though I imagine there should be a few dozen people there anyway. Still, I’m nervous. Not so much about the singing, especially considering that I am only doing one verse of O Holy Night (which I sang at the other party). I know it’s not like I’m doing a TED talk, or that this will ever go viral or anything, but still nervous.
Going back to my wallflower roots, when I was in fifth grade, we had to get up in front of the class and summarize a public event that we’d clipped from the newspaper. I was so mortified, I found the smallest article I could lay my hands on and trembled my way through the thing.
The teacher, Mrs. Kelly, who was a hard-ass and not known for her displays of kindness, felt so sorry for me that she pulled me aside at recess to reassure me. I don’t remember what she said, I just remember being shocked that this teacher who never seemed to particularly like me or care about me felt so sorry for me and my palpable fear that she actually showed tenderness towards me.
In eighth grade, we had to get up in front of the class to do an oral report on our independent study project. My project was on dreams. I studied Freud and Jung (it’s what was in our library at home) and books of dream prophecy and esp. It was what I was interested in. It began my love of psychology and surprisingly enough, even though I was super-nervous, the other kids were interested enough in what I was talking about to ask lots of questions, which helped me relax.
I actually got an A!
I did go on to do a few plays in high school, and as I’ve mentioned, I have managed to have the balls to get up and sing on several occasions.
Perhaps there is hope for me.
“Many are called but few are chosen should be, All are called but few choose to listen,” says the Course. I know I have chosen to be a teacher for God, so I know it is my job to listen; to do what I am asked. It’s hard stretching myself in ways I’m not certain I want to be stretched.
And yet, I do.
Just like I want to sing because I love to sing, I want to talk because I so love the Course and I feel privileged to be allowed to share that love with other people.
I wrote it out. So I would have an idea of how many words it was and therefore how long (turns out the average person speaks about 150 words a minute – who knew!), but also because I know from singing in public that I can’t necessarily trust my mind to keep me from drawing a complete blank.
It’s times like these that I wish I’d joined toastmasters. All I can do is trust, trust that I am comfortable enough in my own skin to do this, trust that my love of God and the Course will help me, trust that I am being led.
“You will never lose your way, for God leads you.”
I can do this.
Wish me luck.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.