So, I was asked to give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting on Sunday. A relatively easy assignment that fills me with complete anxiety. The praying isn’t the hard part, but rather the timing of the walk up to the podium fills me with shear anxiety.
That walk up to the podium is tricky because you have to leave at the exact right moment during the last line of the hymn. If you leave too early you are left standing on the podium awkwardly waiting for the last strains of the hymn to come to a close. If you leave too late there is a very loud and awkward silence after the hymn and people start looking at their watches and clearing their throats to indicate that they are not happy that you are wasting their valuable prayer time.
So there I was sitting in my seat, singing the last verse of the opening song, prepping for the long walk to the podium, debating when I should make my move.
“OK, the chorister is leading really slow so I could probably wait a couple more seconds, and leave right when we start singing the last three words of the song. Wait, how far back am I sitting? Um, let’s see, if I used my thumb to measure…OK, I am about 100 thumbs back…divided by 12, I am about 25 yards back, I have plenty of time…Wait, what is that breeze? Oh no, I am getting a strong westerly breeze coming in from the foyer. I better leave now…OK I am going”
So I make my move. I am going at a nice clip and I still have two more measures until the hymn wraps up.
I could see in the eyes of my fellow parishioners a look of, “He is making his ascent a little too soon. He is going to make his arrival too early” but I caught the eye of the organist and he seemed to be waving me in.
I excitedly took my place at the podium right when the last chord of the hymn was played and the chorister was sitting down. I am not going to lie to you, it was a great moment. I was doing inward toe touches and cheering in my head.
I did get a lot of strange looks after I came down off the podium. Apparently, the congregation doesn’t love it when you spike the Kleenex box like a football, but whatever. I did good work friends…good work.