Afternoons & Teaspoons.

'A person can fulfil his/her purpose in life as well in illness as in good health. 

                               - Tolstoy

Last Monday I gave a talk to a local church friendship group on the subject of radical preachers. Not the easiest subject that comes to mind, one might think for a Springtime afternoon, but knitting, card games and jam making are not my expertise. And in any case, sometimes one has to afflict the comfortable, as well as comfort the afflicted.

I'm no stranger to this particular group and in truth they are a very sociable and likeable Christian and non-Christian bunch. The talk lasted around half hour, and covered the lives of Rev. Luscious Walker, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King, and Rev. R.L. Donaldson, the latter being a mostly forgotten local hero. 

Despite having a few 'Off days' lately, I prepared well during the morning hours, and enjoyed a decent lunch in the company of my wife, step daughter and granddaughter. We got to the church hall in good time, and before I stood up to speak, I counted an audience of twenty two souls. 

So off I go, notes in my right hand, left arm swaying here and there in tandem with the emotion of the text, moving from foot to foot to alleviate the back pain and all seemed OK. 

Then towards the end, I was just about to finish with Martin Luther King's very last words, spoken the night before his assassination in April 1968, when I began to loose the grip on my vocal chords. My mouth went as dry as sand paper, screwing up the last three lines. 

Generous applause erupted, I sat down, my heart not pounding but somewhat racey. My wife has always given me tremendous support, and mentioned that the acoustics of the room were not good and some people couldn't hear me properly. Back home I rested up and all seemed OK. 

The next morning while preparing a small but very welcome decaffeinated coffee, my levels dropped like a barometer before a storm and for several minutes stood motionless in a shroud of black. Fortunately this didn't last long, but I'm certain this was an aftershock from the day before. 

Be aware, I keep telling myself. I am the guardian of my own universe so stay alert, stay positive, refrain from being a punchbag when these feelings, these demons creep up from behind.