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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Courage is Fear that has Said Its Prayers


Two Sundays ago, I was awakened some two hours before church began and asked to give the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting (our worship services). A feeling of dread pinched my stomach, somewhat like I think it would feel like if I swallowed Spongebob's house whole. That's a pineapple y'all. In a way being asked to pray was exciting, after all no one has asked me to give a prayer in Sacrament in forever. Well, probably more like ever, but who's counting right?

On the other hand, my mind filled with trepidation of being asked to accomplish such a simple feat. Speaking in front of a group of people--no problem. Teaching a lesson--no problem. Involving myself in conversation during a lesson--no problem. However, since my return to the Mormonism almost one year ago there are three things that scare the crap out of me:

1.) Praying in public (short and sweet anyone?).
2.) Sitting in Sacrament meeting with everyone else (I'm fine in the foyer thank you).
3.) Accepting a call in the Primary--that's children's classes (I'd rather have a bad case of gonorrhea).

I should probably also add to this list a fourth called "wearing a dress," but it's not really the dress that scares me as much as it's simply me having to compete with such accomplished in taste and refined women. In other words, I'm a redneck at heart. Lucky them, I've got my mishaps with fashion covered though with my Miley Cyrus leggings and random shoes someone dropped off in my driveway.

Oh, but the praying thing is a whole 'nother topic for sure!

The conversation I had before church went pretty much like this:

Telephone: Ring ring, ring Ring!

Me: "Helllllo?"

Member of Bishopric (I think): "Hi Sister, we were wondering if you'd give the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting today at church."

Me in my mind: Oh, you must have noticed that I haven't been to church in two Sundays...

Me Outloud: "Um, well, are you sure? I mean, I usually don't even get there until fifteen minutes before Sacrament ends."

Member of Bishopric: "Well, think of this as an incentive to get there on time!"

Me in my mind: Incentive? You've got to be kidding me. More like an incentive to not be there at all.

Me Outloud: "Well, okay...I guess if I get there about fifteen or ten til that I'll still make it in time to give the closing prayer. Sacrament doesn't usually end until ten after right?"

Member of Bishopric: "Um, I think that's right."

Me Outloud: "Okay then, I guess I'll give the closing prayer--I'll get there a few minutes before Sacrament ends so that'll give me plenty of time to say the prayer without my kids causing major disasters while I'm praying."

And so, I got myself and the kids ready, drove to church at fifteen til the top of the hour, briefly endured my screaming kids in the foyer, and then punished them by making them sit in the Sacrament room with me on one of the back rows in the overflow. When the last verse of the closing song was being sung, a friend sat next to me to watch my kids--without being asked, and I got the courage to walk to the front of the chapel to pray. There I gave probably the church's record short prayer (the moms with babies and toddlers thanked me in the minds), and I got myself off the stage before anyone in the bishopric or stake could shake my hands.

Really though, it felt good to pray and even better to be trusted to give a heartfelt prayer in public. I'm not going to give you some tear-jerker soulful description of how I felt afterward (well mostly because I was sweating in my shoes), but I will say that as someone that has felt inadequate with spiritual things that I was given a glimpse of courage through praying.

That's all.

PS: If you're reading this and you know me from church, nope I still won't serve in Primary. No courage for that. Like I told the second counselor when I first came back eleven months ago, if you ask me to serve in Primary I'll hit the liquor store on the corner and never come back. It has everything to do with my six-year-old who has been bawling his head off for the last hour and a half for a popsicle.

PPS: The title to this post is a quote by Dorothy Bernard, who incidentally was an actress in over 80 silent films. Kinda ironic ain't it?


DangGina said...

Way to go! I'm not the biggest fan of praying in Sacrament meeting either. I don't really mind it so much in RS or Sunday School, but something about praying in front of an entire ward...yipes, it scares me!

Short and sweet is so much better than long and drawn-out. It seems like I heard one of the Brethren say something like "prayer should not be a sermon." So it seems you've got the right idea.

Jennifer said...

Nice! I don't know much about Mormonism, to be honest...

Born and raised Southern Baptist and now attend a non-denominational church.

But, I figure, if I was asked to do anything in front of people, I would consider it a big deal, too. :) Hopefully I won't be though. HORRID stage fright.

Foursons said...

I am cracking up that they accepted your response of "I'll show up right before sacrament is over." Hahahaha

Melessa said...

I'm still going to church right now, but I'm going through an 'iffy' phase and I loved this quote:

"if you ask me to serve in Primary I'll hit the liquor store on the corner and never come back"

Where were these words when I accepted yet another unwanted Primary calling a few months ago?!

And by doubting, I do not mean my testimony, just my own ability to endure to the end. Especially if it means more time in Primary.


Screwed Up Texan said...

Melessa, Hmmm I guess I am just a little brutally I totally get what you mean! I suppose I learned a couple years ago that sometimes it's better to just say no, especially when I've already got so much on my plate. I think we as women (and sometimes as LDS women trying to be perfect) that we think we have to accept every call. I finally came to terms that it was okay to say "no." I mean, we can't all be perfect like my mother-in-law you know?

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