I can still remember that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was eight or nine and starting 3rd grade. You know the feeling. When you’re so young you don’t know what to expect or how you’ll deal with the unexpected. Will I like my teacher? Will I make new friends? Will I do well in 3rd grade? Then there was the question the Rev. Wendy Lambert talked about in the opening sermon of the series, Orientation to life…. Will I belong? I was terrified.
I still get nervous now that I’m older but it’s not quite the same. I get a little nervous every Sunday before I help lead in worship, especially if I’m preaching, but it’s not quite the same feeling. You know you can do what you have to do because you’ve done it before. It’s a confidence that I guess comes with age and experience. But recently, I must admit to feeling that childhood type fear again. I did something that took me way out of my comfort zone. I asked to be a part of our Broadway Revue at the church. It was a terrific night with amazing talented soloists and other excellent musicians performing songs from musicals that have been a part of our St. Luke’s on Broadway sermon series the past six years.
For my part I reprised a role I had done in high school…playing the part of Harold Hill in the Music Man. I jokingly said at a rehearsal that this was like the Music Man goes back to the future…Harold Hill returns to River City after 45 years. That’s how long it had been since I had done this role in high school. But I had a certain amount of bravado or swagger when it came to the role. I told my wife that even after all these years I could still remember all the lines to the song, “Ya Got Trouble” and I saw no reason why I couldn’t perform it at a high level. So, I offered my services for the Broadway Revue.
After a while I begin to realize that perhaps I didn’t’ remember all the lines. After all it had been over 45 years and I had lost a lot of brain cells in that time. The lines are delivered at breakneck speed and every time I tried to run through the lines in the shower I inevitably stumbled over my own tongue. I figured I better get serious about re-learning this song or else I’d end up looking like a fool. I began to practice the lines in every waking moment. “Ya got trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool”. Come the night of the performance I was really nervous now. Every performer in the revue was so talented. I was going to stand out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, somehow, I got through the number thanks to prayer and some really wonderful musicians who somehow managed to stay with me as I raced through the number.
You know our fears can consume us. We may feel unworthy to be where we are. I was certainly reaching that point the day of this performance. One thing that helped was the encouragement of others. Fellow performers and those directing the Revue were very kind in reassuring me I could do this. When you feel fearful reach out to those who love you…family and friends. If you can, share what’s making you feel so fearful and allow those loved ones to comfort and encourage you. Of course, there are some things in life that make us fearful that truly deserve our concern. But most of our fears never come to pass. God tells us in Isaiah, “Don’t fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine”. And the verse I always turn to when I feel overwhelmed…” Be still and know that I am God”. When life seems too much bear, remember God is bigger than all of us and our problems put together.
-Rev. Dave Poteet, Pastor of Congregational Care