Monday, February 21, 2011

On pitching in

My family has always been "pitching-iners" - volunteers at heart. And yet, despite all the things I volunteered for - from soup kitchens to cleaning erasers - I never volunteered for anything at church. Well, almost never - I did volunteer to help the communications committee with their web site (which did not go so well). So about two years ago I was surprised to suddenly see my name listed as lector (OK, technically reader, but they call it lector and so will I in this post) for mass the following week. I had never volunteered for it, and upon asking around nobody else had either.

Now those of you who know me IRL (in real life) should know I am not comfortable with public speaking. Yes, I've given a speech or two in my day, and in a small group of friends I am fine. But to stand in front of strangers? Um, no. However, there were two important differences that made me consider fulfilling the role. First off, it's just reading, not any original words. I am a pretty good reader (as my kids will attest to). Secondly it was Lent, and I was trying to figure out something I could do to strengthen my faith. What better way than to go outside my comfort zone and read the bible to boot?

I got a rough idea of what I was supposed to do and was told not to worry because our pastor is a very understanding man. That Sunday I showed up to find that we had a guest priest, and that this was to be a special mass due to some event (I honestly don't remember what). I introduced myself to Fr. I-don't-remember-his-name and confessed it was my first time so if I screwed up would he be gentle. He was very nice, and I didn't screw up, although I was so nervous I almost dropped the lectionary. At the end of mass he thanked me publicly for doing this for the first time and the congregation clapped - something I most certainly did not want to have happen.

Well, what made me think of this, and blog about it is that almost two years have gone by, and I have done the job dozens of times, but just this last week I was sitting in the pew waiting to get up and read the second reading and it occurred to me - this was the first time I felt like it was "routine" and not uncomfortable. I got through the reading just fine and after mass even got some compliments on my reading. Of course, the material was good (1 Cor 3:16-23).

My sincere apologies to those who read this expecting some "moral" or "insight" - it's just something I was thinking about. I guess if there is any at all it would be to encourage you to get up and do something good, even if it's outside your comfort zone. By the way, for those who don't know me IRL, that is not me in the photo above.


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