King George VI: “Listen to me… listen to me!”
Lionel Logue: “Why should I waste my time listening to you?”
King George VI: “Because I have a voice!”
Lionel Logue: ” …yes, you do. ” The King’s Speech
Every three years, InterVarsity has a huge conference for our wonderfully awesome, fabulous staff during the first week/weekend in January. Since I work in Donation Services, we are unable to have our whole team go away at the end of the calendar year because of the mountain of donations pouring in from our wonderfully awesome, fabulous staff’s wonderfully awesome, fabulous donors. (I’m sure I just broke a dozen grammatical rules in that one sentence!) This means that the eight of us have to take turns going every three years. I got to go three years ago, so I was told I would be staying home this year to keep things flowing in Donation Services’ world.
I know there are those of you who would have gone into a deep, dark depression and excessive misery (brownie points if you know that reference) and thought your world was ending never to be set right if you were forced to stay home. I know there are staff workers who desperately wanted to be there but their budgets/funding wouldn’t permit it. Yet, when I was told I was staying home to do all that work… I did a happy dance!
I am hopelessly lost in big crowds but also just as hopeless in small groups. The problem is I never know where one begins and the other ends. What starts out as a small group can suddenly become terrifyingly too large and I retreat into a corner in the fetal position (okay… not physically… but that is where my mind is!)… and what started out as terrifyingly too large can suddenly become quite the comfy, intimate gathering where I feel free to laugh and dance and sing and act like a fool (that part is real).
While explaining this concept to someone during lunch last week she startled me with this question: “Are you afraid of what you have to say? Do you think what you have to say doesn’t matter?”
If you were to ask Steve or LeeAnne or Beth, they will tell you that I am a veritable well of opinions and attitudes and things to say and I never hesitate to speak such. But, ask me to sit at the “big table” during lunch and I suddenly can’t eat because my stomach is tied up in knots.
Give me a microphone and I will break out into a little song and dance (the bigger the audience the better!) and tell stories to make you giggle. But, ask me to expound on world events or give some theological treatise on creation or the nature of golf balls and my tongue becomes tied and glued to the roof of my mouth.
Weird for a preacher, eh?
If you haven’t seen “The King’s Speech” yet (starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush) you really should. It’s a fabulous history lesson with a profound message centered around WWII .
In the beginning of WWII, there were leaders like Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin and Roosevelt who not only carried big sticks… they spoke with great authority and power. When they spoke, you listened.
Enter King George VI, who was recently thrown onto the throne when his older brother abdicated to marry an American divorcee. King George was reluctant to speak in public because of a terrible stutter that was excruciating for him and his listeners. A stuttering king wouldn’t have been so bad… except radio was now keeping everyone connected to what was going on in the world and the king was expected to be that connection. The movie tells the story of the relationship between the king, who didn’t believe that what he had to say was important, and his speech therapist who did.
The more I think about what my friends said, the more I think my fear isn’t so much that what I have to say isn’t important… but that what you have to say is smarter and more clever and makes much more sense. I’m afraid of fumbling for words and forgetting an important part of my argument (my mouth always moves much faster than my brain can think of the words). In the grand scope of things I am afraid of looking and sounding like an idiot. This is one of the reasons that I always completely write out my sermons and preach from a manuscript.
What to do with this discovery? Do I continue as I have, or do I find my voice?
How have you found your voice? How did you fight the fear?