Sunday, September 04, 2005

And I cried

I rarely "practice" sermons in the pulpit. Either I don't have time because I'm finishing the writing up until the last minute or I simply don't think about it. I was a competitive speaker in high school and preaching has never scared me from the perspective of actually talking in front of people.
But I practiced my sermon Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of the Saturday night service and the baptism and my bishop's presence and my parents and my in-laws. All things considered, it just seemed like a good idea.
And I cried -- alone in the sanctuary -- about half-way through my sermon I just lost it.
Overwhelmed with the emotion of the week's events ... exhausted from having family in town and a teething baby ... whatever the reason I thought, "Well, it's a good thing I practiced so I don't actually cry when there are people here."
I should have known better.
I got really, really choked up during worship.
And more than anything, after worship was over and we'd had cake and I was trying to sleep before doing it all over again this morning, I was mad, angry that I'd *almost* cried in the pulpit.
Somehow I thought that people would think less of me.
Maybe I thought less of myself that I couldn't "keep it together."
Clearly I'm still sorting out (without trying to dwell or obsess about it) how I feel about all of it.
I didn't get choked up this morning. I felt better. But I did wonder which sermon (service) was better.


will smama said...

Shoes -

It sounds like the baptism of your son was amazing. Yeah!

I too have cried in the pulpit(someday on my blog I might get into why). I am from the northeast so I am not about showing my emotions and I was really embarrassed and mad at myself.

Most folks though did not seem to be offended by my humanity. We are humans and I think that genuine emotion only enhances the message.

I hope today is a day of peace and rest for you.

Songbird said...

I agree with wills mama about showing our humanity. And especially on such a charged occasion.
And I think it's often true that the things we think went flat really moved someone and the things we feel great about were more about us, who who knows? As long as you are faithful to God, the rest sorts itself out.

the reverend mommy said...

I almost cried during the prayer yesterday. But I don't think that it hurts for the congregation see us be touched by emotion. It becomes problematic when we don't control the emotion -- and the congregation thinks that they need to or have to take care of US.

Apostle John said...

I lost it once during a funeral. The single father died in a motor cycle accident. I had to tell his 5 year old daughter he had died. During the service I caught sight of her and I just wept. When I was finally able to speak, I simply said that sometimes the journey through grief to joyful remembrance just takes time.

It had a strange impact on the congregation. It was not negative. As if I had been crying the tears they would not allow themselves to shed.

Lorna said...

This was good to read - esp what apostle john said. thank you all :)

Pink Shoes said...

Thanks, all, for your comments.
Looking back on the weekend and hearing what and how others preached has been really helpful and fascinating. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall of so many congregations.

Katherine said...

I cried when I preached on Sunday. I got through the whole sermon with only a few throat-catches, but then as soon as it was over and I came forward to give the invitation to discipleship (a disciples of christ weekly tradition), I felt myself falling apart. I did this weird nervous laugh and said, "I think I'm going to cry now." I was more uncomfortable with the weird nervous laugh thing than with the actual tears I shed during the singing of the hymn of invitation. I think it is a natural thing to weep at times like this- I wish I hadn't modeled being so uncomfortable with the need to cry.

Thanks for sharing your story... I'm so glad to find your blog and read through your archives.