Last Friday morning was slightly traumatic and yet, in another, more important sense, fulfilling. Last Friday was the first day I've ever read a scripture passage in Chapel. Remembering only my short chapel presentation a year ago as one of five speakers, I came fully expecting to have shaky legs with a moderately shaky voice to match, and of course, since the reading was rather lengthy, I knew my mouth would dry out quickly. Discreetly gulping down as much water as I could, I sat waiting quietly at the front of the make-shift Urness Chapel.
I had no real reason to be nervous, of course. I'd printed out my own 'large print edition' of the reading (which was now waiting patiently for me within the Bible on the podium), and I'd rehearsed several times - mostly silent lip synching, but once out loud, too. And I'd already done a sound check with the microphone, so I knew what to expect when I started reading out loud again.
Now, I really do like speaking in front of people, but this was a brand new crowd of mostly unfamiliar faces to me. In all honesty, the previous Wednesday had been the first day this year I'd gone to chapel, and I only went because my former psychology prof was speaking. Why had I now been asked to accept this privilege of reading in front of everyone? I knew I couldn't screw up; I did not want to make a fool of myself, not here, not in front of these people. Today I needed to make a good impression, today I needed to try my best to offer some semblance of actually appearing intelligent.
All told, the reading went just fine. My over-the-top nervousness ahead of time disappeared once I was at the microphone - at that point the previously almost overwhelmingly worrisome task became almost routine; "you've read out loud before, and you're a good sight reader, and for goodness sake, you've practised this text, to boot!" is what I told myself. My mouth did run quite dry (I'm sure it didn't help that I had not fully re-hydrated from giving blood several days before), but somehow I made it through, and in the aftermath actually received several compliments from friends saying I'd done just fine. In short, all my worries had been for naught. Thank you, God.