At about 8 a.m., this coming Saturday, Oct. 16th, the Men's Ministry of Christ Community Church will have dubious distinction of having me give the "devotion." Please pray these men have strength to endure.
For the first time in about a dozen years I am supposed to make a live, public presentation based on my knowledge and observation of a given subject. Speaking is not at all something at which I consider myself very good. Overall, writing is better. Writing gives plenty of time to examine each word, to re-write, and to have Kay edit out the really stupid stuff. Even then, in the words of theoneinthearmy, "..again my father's larger point is missed." Alas, our middle son is so very astute.
So here I am, having, in a moment apparent lightheadedness, volunteered to speak at the Men's Ministry breakfast. Worst of all, I have undertaken to discourse on a subject no man yet born should engage: "Women!"
As with many things my introduction to this subject came from my father. At about age 14 or so he taught me two answers he assured would resolve any situation. The first answer being: "even this shall pass away." The second answer being: "Women!"
Public speaking is entirely different from writing; speaking being justifiably feared by all but the most experienced and polished. What you say is what you said, there is rarely a chance to un-say what you should not have said just that way (ask any politician). Worse, even when you say it right someone will inevitably misquote and/or misunderstand. It seems recordings only complicate this -- the bad being replayed, the misquoted ignored, and the misunderstood reemphasized.
My reservations about public speaking are honestly earned. Long ago it became apparent that there is no subject on which I have enough knowledge to talk more than 10 minutes. This worked well in that part of my wasted youth dedicated to proving myself not a much of a preacher. If you prefer really short sermons (most did), you should have come to my church. Even so, the only time my mother ever heard me preach she declared it was more words than I'd ever spoken before in my life at any one time.
It is not because mother did not try to make me into an orator. At age 12 she took my sister and I to "Miss Winnage's School." Miss Winnage's claims to fame included once coaching actress Virginia Mayo, and teaching elocution to a haberdasher from Independence Missouri named Truman. My sister took dance lesion, which she loved. I took speech lesson, which weren't as effective on me as on Harry S. Not much stuck, other than the opening line of one poem I was supposed to recite (about a doll of all things!).
Between posting this blog and my scheduled monologue ordeal I will have completed 67 years on earth. Three weeks later, Nov. 6, Kay and I will have been married 45 years. Surely this will provide enough knowledge and observation of a given subject to fill 10 minutes. I am glad it's for men only.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.