Sunday, 14 December 2008
Someone wiser (and much braver!) than I am once said that you should do one thing every day which scares you. And with that in mind, it happened that yesterday evening I managed to 'volunteer' to do the third reading at my College's alumni carol concert.
Now, I can talk easily with any number of people at a party or conference (or just about anywhere) but if you put me in front of a room of people and ask me to speak 'to' rather than 'with', I suddenly lose my tongue.
I was tempted to say 'no'; it would have been easy to summon excuses. My eyesight is not great (I had to ask them to print the reading in a larger font). We were driving for an hour and a half to get there, with the consequent risk of being late. A simple 'no, thanks' would have sufficed for everybody.
But although I could have justified myriad reasons not to, I felt honoured to have been asked - I wanted to do it, I just would have preferred to do it without the stage fright! In the end I decided it would almost undoubtedly be good for me - something less scary than giving a presentation (after all, I only had to read the words, Luke had already written them) but still practising similar skills and feeling the same sick nervousness. Besides, I do like a challenge.
It was an excellent service; it always is. The New College Choir gave an outstanding performance as always. I admit I wasn't fully listening to the first few carols, although the beautiful music did something to soothe my nerves. I hope no-one could see the way my heart was pounding in my chest as I stepped up to read - but even if they could, I did it. I might even be tempted to do it again in future.