So, what of these other writing projects that have taken me away from my blog here of late?
The topics might be in some kind of conflict now that I sit down and lay them out in front of me to help with the writing of this post.
One is a short story, a children’s story about a witch who was bad, but who learned to smile and then became good. I won’t say more than that because it’s still a work in progress.
The other is a presentation I wrote for church this past Sunday. I was invited to speak to the congregation about my faith. For some reason that is very unlike me, I jumped at the chance. This is unlike me because I’m not a public speaker and, like so many other people, public speaking terrifies me. But when my minister asked me if I would like to participate in the series Speak What You Feel (Not What You Ought to Say), I said yes without a second thought.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks writing and editing what I was going to say. And I discovered that writing a piece that would be spoken out loud is tougher than I thought.
My first draft read like a “boring book” according to my test audience (my 5-year-old daughter). I didn’t take that as an insult. I understood what she meant. When I said the words out loud, it sounded like a written piece being read to the audience. And that was not the goal of this series. The point was to talk about your faith, not read about it.
So I re-wrote and re-wrote until I arrived at a decent final draft. And Sunday came. My first go at the presentation was at the 8:30 am service. I attend the 10:30 am service, so I don’t know anyone at the early service. I spoke too fast. I was incredibly nervous. I managed to get all the words out, but I wasn’t sure I had really conveyed my story about faith…until the service ended and people came up to me to share their words of understanding, of encouragement, of thanks and to share their own stories of faith. I felt like what I had said mattered.
It’s so much different speaking your words and having people connect with them than it is writing your words and having people connect. When I was speaking at church at the 8:30 am service, I didn’t know anyone. I wasn’t sure how they would react to what I had to say. And they were sitting right there, listening to my words. I was taking up their time. Unlike when I write and send stuff out into the world, readers can read it on their own time. And readers can choose to stop reading if they don’t like what I have to say. But sitting in church with a speaker standing in front of you, you don’t have much choice but to listen.
But, because I’m a writer and not a speaker, this experience reminded me that in real life can be so much better than virtually. The outpouring of support for what I had to say connected me to my words in a way that I could not have imagined.
I then made the same presentation at the 10:30 am service where I know most of the congregation. But this time, I was less nervous, more sure of my words. And the response to what I had to say was the same wonderful outpouring of support and understanding from people who really connected with what I said and who had, in some cases, travelled similar paths to their faith. It really was a most incredible experience; one that I’m so glad that I jumped at. And now I understand why I said “yes” without hesitation. God needed to show me that if I just have faith, I’ll get to the top of those hills and mountains that rise in my way.
It might be scary and it might not be what I choose to do, but God is there and his reward is great.