Yesterday I broke my duck, stepped out and did something new. I have been a celebrant before, I took a funeral a couple of yeas ago, I have taken services as a lay preacher, baptised a few people however yesterday was different. My Sister Trish and her husband Malcolm celebrated a tenth anniversary of their marriage.They accorded me a great privilege and a challenge and asked me to be the celebrant for the day. The ceremony was quite short and it did not seem a whole lot of work to put it together, they told me what they wanted and said the rest was up to me, no sweat, Ill just dig into my extensive resources and… oh that’s right I haven’t done anything like this before.
I am used to public speaking, friends have described me as even being accomplished at that, I generally tend to wing it as my best comes from my heart but on this occasion I scripted, you see it was not about me but it was about them, no pressure really. In public speaking the stakes are often about you, on occasion it has been about who I represent and that brings its own pressure but nothing is closer than family. It didn’t take long to prepare a script, and the end result was according to the feedback pretty well received. The closest anyone got to tears was when I read a poem that I had written for them ( http://softlyfallingpoetry.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/cruel-mistress/) I blame the Irish for that.
The experience set me thinking as I sometimes am wont, I pondered on how we need to accept the word of others when it comes to compliments and assessments of our performances. When it comes to people saying negative things I am pretty ok with that, I am most often able to reflect and judge myself, accept it, reflect or disagree from a position of honesty. It is so different when it comes to compliments. One can often judge the compliments by the kind of respect one has for the person saying it. I have had a difficult time in the past accepting compliments, I have a friend who calls me a chef, it irritates, nay down right annoys the living daylight out of me to the extent he may as well call me an a-hole, because I know that I can cook but I don’t have the skills to call myself a chef, that is just how it is. But in this thing called being a celebrant… well I have to trust others and believe that they don’t compliment me to be nice to me, that I did a good job.
I guess it is that honesty around taking criticism that means when people say something about me that is not true I get pretty riled, I can’t stand falsehood, either negative or positive. If I am talking shite as my Irish brothers would say then tell me, I may or may not care about it, I may even agree with what you say. Utter false words about me and it strikes to my very core, still one of those layers that I need to peel away. As Sir Elton John is once supposed to have said, call me fat, and ugly but just don’t tell any lies about me. As I get older, I get a deeper insight into the power of the words that I speak, how I speak them,and when. they can have a huge impact for good and bad. I try not to give false compliments, I try to speak the truth, I try to say it respectfully, I don’t expect any more from anyone else.
The most difficult part of yesterday was dealing with the regrets in my life, I attended this with my wonderful children and, oh yeas that’s right I am single. I found myself more than a little wistful, deeply pleased for Trish and Malcom but also longing to have such occasions to share with someone special in my life.
I celebrate my birthday next Sunday, 52 I shall be, I probably won’t mark it as it is just another day where I will wake up by myself…. such is life, I am grateful for what I have and indeed blessed by my family and friends, am I greedy because I want more? Should I be content in singleness? I don’t think so, at one stage there was talk of the priesthood for me, I considered it as a teenager, alas for me I enjoy the company and intimacy of a woman in my life too much,
Anyway I finish with a few lines from the poem I wrote
Desire that is held strongly enough,
with enough passion,
with enough love,
void of fear and self-doubt,
will turn into truth and constancy.
To know the truth of that in my life is my prayer and my desire.
No chance needed,
only passion and love.