In at the deep end and sinking like a stone

It seems that I have surpassed all my previous records in digging the biggest hole I can and jumping straight into it.

I’ve said I’ll do the sermon* for the Harvest Festival service later this month.

Yes, I’m not only mad, but also a fool. I have no idea how to set about writing, let alone delivering, a sermon. But I came up with the plan for the theme, which will tie in with the village schoolchildren being there, so it seemed appropriate to put my foot where my mouth is and follow through.
Also, it enabled me to ask Dave, lovely fellow churchwarden, to deal with the prayers. I am not up for leading prayers. I can’t contemplate that.

I’ll also be playing the clarinet to lead the hymns. It was either that or play the organ and it will be better to get up and just pick up a clarinet than come all the way back from the organ stool. And it’s easier to play the clarinet than it is to play the organ.

Oh dear. I really don’t want to do this badly. I don’t mind being a fool, or that everyone will know that I am; that’s par for the course, but I will let people down if I am embarrassing. And god too, but he will forgive me…c’est son metier as Catherine the Great** said. But will anyone else? And will I?

I haven’t mentioned this to the Sage yet. I’m waiting to pick my moment***.

*It’s not strictly a ‘sermon’ as I’m not licensed to preach, but effectively that’s what it will be.
**it’s been credited to various people, but the Oxford dictionary of quotations gives it to her – “Moi, je serai autocrate: c’est mon metier. Et le bon Dieu me pardonnera: c’est son metier.”
***My well-read daughter just sent me this. Thank you El darling, that is extremely helpful. Though I’m sorry for the mental pictures that now are flashing before you.

16 comments on “In at the deep end and sinking like a stone

  1. Z

    Hi, CChong, is that you Banana?
    Honestly? There’s very few things I can do well. But there are not too many I won’t have a go at. I rely entirely on the kindness of people who make allowances for my total incompetence, and smile indulgently at my willingness to fall flat on my face.

  2. irreverentmama

    Good for you!

    My Husband used to be a pastor, and he still does a sermon each summer at his father’s church, when the regular minister’s on holiday. Mostly I sit in the pews and look supportive. Which is harder than you might imagine. I blame it on the air circulation in that old church, but I canNOT sit on a pew in that sanctuary for more than 12 minutes without having to actively fight the nodding of the head.

    Not too supportive, that.


  3. Z

    Oh Laura, my ‘under 10 minute’ instinct is right then. There will be small children and over-80s there, I neither want them to go to sleep nor to cry. 7 minutes?

    And thanks for the encouraging remark.

  4. Geena

    Z – you blow my mind…multi-talented indeed..and you say you’re unemployable? Pity the employer who’d pass YOU over…

    ..and what a broadminded El you have…sex and mothers do NOT mix in my book – unless I am the mother in question, of course.

  5. Z

    Geena darling, I do all these things badly. I am not being modest but realistic and truthful.
    It might be better if I did a few things really well, but I prefer to give the impression that I could be absolutely brilliant if only I wasn’t quite so busy. It saves me from having to prove myself.

    My own mother, who one might not have thought of as broadminded, thought passion and sex were vital to a marriage. The only piece of marital advice she every gave me was ‘never turn your husband away when he wants to make love to you.’

  6. MellowDrama

    Hi there, stumbled onto your site, lots of luck with the seromon writing! Lol I am in a small town too, in a remote part of India. I liked the bit about otters gobbling up the fish!

  7. Z

    Hello Rama and welcome, thanks for leaving a comment.

    We have an otter conservation & wildlife park nearby. Thanks to their efforts over the years, there is quite a good wild otter population around here now. They are pretty shy though and we don’t usually see them.

  8. Z

    Geena you are awful! Actually, when I was quite young my mum told me that a friend had airily said to her that she kept reading when her husband made love to her. My mum was totally shocked.

  9. Dandelion

    I really think you have to try not to worry about being embarrassing. I think seeing people worry about being embarrassing is more embarrassing than anything they might say or do. In any case, if people can forgive you for “being a fool”, I’m sure they’ll forgive you for being embarrassing. Just go for it.

    The only one whose forgiveness you might have to think about is yourself…

  10. Z

    Thanks Dandelion and I know you are right. If I am dreadful it’ll ruin the service for other people though, I do hope I won’t let that happen. But I will behave as if I’m confident and I am reasonably used to speaking to an audience. Usually fairly briefly, however.

  11. Dandelion

    If I am dreadful it’ll ruin the service for other people though

    Not necessarily. It might give them a good laugh. Or a talking point. Or make them think a new thought. Either way, it won’t be the end of the world, and in any case, you may not be “dreadful” at all.

    My advice would be to have a Plan B, for in case it does go pear-shaped. You probably won’t need it, but you will feel a whole lot better and more relaxed if you know you’re prepared for all eventualities, or at least the one you fear the most.

    I shall pray for you 🙂

  12. Z

    Well, thanks Dandelion.

    If I’m bad enough to be funny, that’s fine. It’s the mental image of people who like me cringing in their seats…….
    oh, that’s quite funny too isn’t it.

    Plan B is to shorten the whole thing to under 3 minutes!


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