Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Challenge

Ideas, they come to me in the wee hours. Sometimes they are unmistakably bad ones, such as "Hey, I should rip up the carpeting to see what's under it." Occasionally I get an answer to a problem that's been plaguing me. When my friend Kevin died, I couldn't find a way to write about him until the words finally came to me in the darkness. A few nights ago, I woke up at 3:38 a.m. with the thought that I should sign up to be a speaker at church. Talk about "coming out of left field."

At our UU fellowship, the pastor is in the pulpit every other week. We share her with another congregation. On the in-between weeks, the program committee typically arranges for a speaker from outside the fellowship. I can't tell you how much I learn by having different speakers each week. At one service we learned about yoga and meditation. Another week we learned about oral histories from a Native American speaker. Sometimes the presenter is someone from our own fellowship. There's quite a talent pool there as well.

When I woke up the next morning, the idea was still firmly in my brain (often they are gone by sunrise, and that's probably a good thing). In spite of myself, I created a brief outline and sent it off to the program chairperson to get her input. My proposed topic, which is still relatively sketchy at this point, is "Breaking and Repairing the Human/Animal Bond." I figured I could draw heavily from my ten years in rescue, of course. I planned to work in an angle about animals and spirituality as well. My big idea sort of peters out after that, so I guess I must have fallen back to sleep at some point.

My outline was accepted and before I knew it, I was booked to speak in October. The only problem with this scenario is that . . . I am not a good public speaker. I am not being modest here - I just turn into a big goober when you put me in front of a crowd. I act like I just hatched out of a pod and have never been out in public before. I volunteered to speak, though, because I've somehow convinced myself I've got a worthwhile message to impart. If I get through this, I may just keep my promise to try kayaking before I die.

To my UU friends who may actually be at this service in October . . . whatever you do, do not attempt to make eye contact with me under any circumstances. I will whip out my disk-shooting spaceship* and aim straight for your forehead. Don't test me.

*If you have a cat, you have to get one of these. Dogs are fun, too, but they tend to run off with the foam disks and eat them. Cats just look spectacularly annoyed.

6 comments:

Susie said...

You'll do great! Just be yourself--write out everything you want to say (your writing ability is amazing!) and literally read it if you have to. But, I suspect you won't have to--when a speaker is passionate and informed of a topic, the words usually come very easily. The best part is the 4 months you have to stress about (read: prepare for) it!

Tina said...

i just love reading your blogs! They make my day alot of time. Today being one of them :)

Liz said...

HELL-OOOO Claudia, this is a no brainer....Just picture eberyone as dogs and you'll do fine!! loL

Mary said...

I have EVERY bit of confidence that you can speak about this. I remember once when I had to give a speech, I'm sure I'm much worse than what you described being up in front of a group. But when you have a topic that really means something to you and say your prayers before you do it somehow it all turns out good. My speech was about Leader Dogs for the Blind and being blind in general because there was/is so much ignorance about blind people people. Having a blind father I just wanted to educate people about it. I even thought I did a good job so my point is knowing how bad I am in front of people I know it can be done!;) I would actually love to hear the one you are doing and the other great thing about your topic is thing of the range of people you can educate about animals/dogs!! I don't have to say good luck because you don't need it!

Audreee said...

I think you are probably a better public speaker than you think. I totally think you should bring the disk shooter, it will give you confidence.

Oh...and I am really baffled why so many animals think your yard, that is frequently occupied by big dogs, is a great place to hang out.

Sammy said...

I think this is a fabulous idea. It's an incredible topic and as your #1 blog fan, I have no doubt you will write something interesting, moving, and beautiful.