One wild and Precious Life.

memory, mental fatigue, preaching, resting brain, stress

At the Good Friday service at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, one of the speakers read from “The Summer day” a poem by Mary Oliver  It really stuck with me and if you want to read it here’s the link: .  I had heard it before but hearing it then was just the right time.  She wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I had one of those long, drawn out Presbytery meetings today.  They are always difficult for me and since our Presbytery is stretched out so far geographically, I’ve made the choice to attend only the ones I can drive to on my own.  This means I only attend perhaps two out of four each year.  This one was particularly difficult because there was an issue before the Presbytery with which I felt rather strongly . I decided this past weekend to write a short statement and speak today.

It almost felt as if God was giving me the words to say.  I didn’t want to speak there because it stresses me out terribly. Yet, I couldn’t ignore that pull inside of me.  So I wrote something.  The words came which was great.  I practiced it a little bit because I’m not one of those preachers who can preach without practicing.  I knew that my words weren’t really supposed to be a sermon but I thought I would say them anyway.

I chose to wear moon earrings that a friend of mine made for me because the image of the moon always gives me strength.  I don’t as a rule wear dangle earrings whenever I speak but I decided this time, I needed anything that would remind me to stay calm.

The day started out with me taking Sparky to Doggie Daycare.  It’s a new location so I had to use my GPS.  I then saw the highway was backed up going back so I decided to try going to the meeting a different way.  My GPS took me the long way but I got there to the meeting just fine.  When I arrived, I had to “rest my brain” by putting in my ear plugs and sitting in the car for a few minutes.  Driving even more than 40 minutes tires me out.

So when I felt ready to enter the building I did.  As usual, it was crowded and noisy.  I don’t do well in those environments but I managed to get through it.  I sat in the front so I could concentrate on the proceedings.  What I didn’t bargain for, was the moderator’s lack of moderating skills.  She kept confusing Roberts Rules of Orders and seemed unsure.  I know I wouldn’t want to try and moderate this group.  I was nervous enough just by speaking for 1 1/2 minutes! I felt for her because she’s was called to a very difficult job and I know this only too well.  However, folks stepped forward to help her and in the end, it worked out.  God truyly is a great God!

Never the less, I found myself getting angry inside at all the shenanigans.  The only thing I could think of to do was to step out for a few minutes, put in my ear plugs and “rest my brain”  So that is what I did.  I’ve stopped worrying what folks think of me when they see me sitting in a corner somewhere with my eyes closed and my ear plugs in.  I returned to the meeting when my emotions were better under control.

What did I find when I returned?  The same stuff!  Again, I lasted as long as I could but I decided I’d better just get out of there and come back after lunch.  So I went to my car, put the seat back and rested for a few minutes.  I pulled out my Android and my lunch and munched happily away.

I did, however, remember that Bills and Overtures had said anyone who wanted to speak about one of the overtures, could meet with them.  I decided this was a good thing for me to do.  Shoot, I had spent time writing my little speech and I wanted to say it!  I think God was with me because I was able to locate folks who knew where the committee was meeting so I went there.  I was early so again, I put in my ear plugs, closed my eyes and rested my brain in the quiet room.

After saying my little spiel and then hearing everyone’s comments at the meeting, I changed my view on the amendment. I had written my little spiel in favor of the overture so I adjusted it a little.  I then went back to the meeting in progress.  This time I sat in the back of the auditorium so I could freely roll my eyes.  I figured I would speak if I felt the spirit moving inside.  If not, I wouldn’t.

A funny thing happened.  I acted like a lot of ministers at Presbytery meetings. I think they talk just so they can hear themselves talk!  I wanted to say my little spiel even though I didn’t think it would change anyone’s mind.  So when the time came, I spoke.  It went fine like it always is when I speak.  I had gone through all my anxiety for what amounted to nothing.

After the meeting, I struggled with my feelings.  Did I really hear God moving in my spirit and telling me to speak or was I only hearing my own voice?  On the way out, I shared my concerns with a minister friend and she said something interesting.  She alluded to her Quaker siblings and how they are always talking about feeling God’s Spirit within them.  Perhaps God was moving in a way that I didn’t yet understand.

I’ve thought about her words often since the meeting.  Did I misunderstand God’s voice?  I’ve come to the conclusion now that I did not.  Michael and I are doing several presentations on brain injury to law enforcement professionals as well as some other folks.  We’ve done two and I was a nervous wreck for the first one.  It’s funny because Michael is doing the bulk of it and  I’m only adding my personal survivor stories. He should be the one filled with anxiety! The first one went well and we were asked to do another.  I stressed over this one a little less than the first.  So now we are going to do a third one on May 1. 

This experience today, helped me see that I still can speak.  Oh, I can’t remember the words as well and I worry that I’m going to mess up but so far, it’s been okay. The same with the brain injury presentations.

 So what am I going to do with my one, wild and precious life?  I’m not going to waste it by being filled with anxiety!  Tomorrow I was supposed to deliver vegetables from GCPC’s garden to a friend who has a low income and cannot afford to buy them.  Instead, I made the necessary calls and someone has agreed to do it for me. So I plan to drink good coffee, write in my journal and read the New York Times.  I might even work out in the yard! So I’m going to still be responsible but I’m going to enjoy this life God has given me.  After all, this is the only life I have and I don’t want to waste it.

2 thoughts on “One wild and Precious Life.

  1. This is beautiful !
    And I can relate. I like to sit somewhere so that I can freely roll my eyes when I need to. Groups are just difficult for me…..the dynamics are sometimes just overwhelming….
    Sounds like you really learned something from all this.
    Nancy K


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