The only thing about the long sermons that stuck with me in church was the uncomfortable stiff wood chairs. I felt sinful when my mind wandered all over creation during the homily unable to focus on the monotonous voice of the priest. I was grateful when we stood up to recite the Apostle’s Creed because it meant he was done. As I got older I fantasized about walking out of church in the middle of their sermon in a sign of protest, but I never grew the balls to do it. I did grow a dislike for long windy speeches or windy anything.
I blame on those homilies my lack of concentration on lectures that are too windy and that I check the length of an article before I read it. I have yet to read Crime and Punishment 656 pages not because there are so many pages, but because the paragraphs are so intimidatingly long, I must save a good chunk of my life to get into it and no book really deserves that much work. Not even mine.
Over the past several years I have had to speak in public. It was never the choice of the shy girl I still am behind the façade of self-confidence I have achieved, it is more something that I was pushed into or that by default fell on my lap. Two things I keep in mind when I speak, #1 I don’t memorize my speech rather talk as if I was having a conversation and #2 I keep it brief. I realize that I keep it brief because my insecurities make me think no one wants to listen to me to begin with, and by default also I have found that my message is much more effective when I don’t bore the audience to death.
A few weeks ago, I was called to the microphone as I was walking by in a room full of people. I had not rehearsed anything. I had nothing in mind to say. I was not aware I was speaking. Nevertheless, I positioned myself behind the mic and told the audience a story, a short story. The response was overwhelming.
I remain in awe when someone comes to me after I sit down to talk about my delivery. I am surprised they want to talk to me at all and more so that they remember my message. I know I didn’t remember the church messages. It must be they are not sitting in those uncomfortable wood chairs.