If I’m not working on something word wise, it feels as if something’s just not right. Like, something is missing. Something is off. A part of me isn’t fulfilling its need to be heard.
Maybe this word thing stems from my childhood. I was number seven out of eight kids. By the time I was able to be heard — my four older sisters had already moved out of the house — the discussion at the kitchen table revolved around the farm and that meant it was my brothers and dad doing most of the talking.
I wasn’t actively engaged in the day-to-day operations of raising the cows and crops; therefore, I didn’t get to add much to the discussion when it came to mealtimes.
Besides writing, speaking is another way to express myself. Now, when I get the opportunity, I actually want to talk. I like to talk. That wasn’t always the case. I cringed when I had to speak in public. My face turned red. My knees wobbled. My voice shook.
Generally speaking (no pun intended), I wasn’t a very good public speaker. And I’m still not great, but I’m better than I used to be. So when various women’s groups have asked me to speak at their functions, I’ve said yes and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s increased my self-confidence. I’m not totally frightened of peeing in my pants any more. And the feedback I receive seems genuine. Like, I hope folks really are gaining something from their time listening to me, whether it is insight, inspiration, encouragement or entertainment.
Taking a new step
My two youngest recently had to memorize a poem or story and recite it in front of the entire student body, along with a few of us parents, at St. John-St. Andrew Catholic School. I was so proud of them. Along with reading at daily Mass, events like that start them on a course of confidence when it comes to speaking in public.
It’s when we step out of our comfort zones that we learn and grow. But service is no substitute for a strong personal relationship with the Lord.
With those thoughts in mind, I recently agreed to a St. Mary’s Society officer position. What’s that, you ask? It’s kind of like the Christian Women’s group of a parish. We’re the ones who plan the annual chicken dinner as well as other church events as needed.
The spring supper — or what I call the chicken dinner — in Meire Grove is a big deal. It’s always held two Sundays after Easter, which means this year’s is Sunday, April 10, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. With the influx of Melrose parishioners attending Mass in Meire Grove since the fire at St. Mary’s, we’re hoping for a larger attendance of folks who want to dine on baked chicken, real mashed potatoes and dressing and home-baked pies.
I really don’t know how this whole event works, but I’m sure by the time the weekend is over, I will have learned lots. I’m going with the attitude that there’s a reason I’m supposed to do this, not just because we’re all called to serve, but because I want my service to reflect my love for Him. If I grow closer to God by agreeing to this four-year officer gig, then that sounds like a win-win to me.
Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 16 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.