I’ve been preaching for four Sundays now. Reading from a manuscript. Sunday was the first Sunday I had the nerve to do the communion liturgy and benediction extemporaneously. I bet it was the shortest communion extrapolation ever! I’ve been frustrated with how slow a process it is. I came home late in the afternoon after having lunch with the students and something prompted me to reach for The Legend of Bagger Vance among the collection of our DVD’s. It was a God thing. I needed it. And God knew it.
“Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Something that we were born with. Something that’s ours and ours alone. Something that can’t be taught to you or learned. Something that got to be remembered. Over time the world can rob us of that swing. It can be buried inside us in the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. Some people forget what their swing was like.”
“You know I can’t quit.”
” I know. Just making sure you know it too.”
“Look at his practice swing. Almost as if he’s searching for something. And then he finds it. He settles himself right in the middle of it. Feel that focus. He’s got a lot of shots he can choose from….But there’s only one shot that’s his. Authentic shot. And that shot is going to choose him. There’s a perfect shot out there trying to find each and every one of us. What we got to do is get ourselves out of it’s way and let it choose us.”
“Yes, you can. But you ain’t alone. I’m right here with you. I’ve been here all along. Now play the game. Your game. The one that only you was meant to play. The one that was given to you when you come into this world. You ready? Take your stance. Strike that ball. Don’t hold nothing back. Give it everything. Now’s the time. Let yourself remember. Remember your swing.”
It was like my own personal pep talk. I need to be me. I need to trust my own voice. I need to be centered on God and all that comes with it. It reminds me of the old Siler’s Bald song Getting Back. With the lines like, “I crawl, I run, as you wait for me//With open arms, there you stand//take my heart in your hands//I’m going to keep my eyes on you//I pray this life you’ll see me through.”
So there’s progress. I was able to do the chinese balls with my right hand. I wasn’t able to do that a month ago, so I dreaded it when my occupational therapist placed them before me. But I was pleasantly surprised that I could do it!
It still terrifies me to stand in the pulpit. But I know I’m not alone. May my nervousness draw me closer to God. This is my prayer.
Thanks for all of yours! I walk this journey with all of you by my side and a great cloud of witnesses looking on.