This is the sort of day that prompts a great deal of thought and reflection, and although I do not have much time at present to reflect on it because I have to run off and attend to other matters, I think it is important to at least acknowledge that today was a fairly heavy day as far as such material goes. Even before rushing off to what was a day full of activity, there was a fair amount of time spent writing and reading and reflecting in the morning. And so it was that I found myself shortly before 10AM back in Jantzen Beach to begin a long public day of activity with a speaker’s workshop where there were only about a dozen people ready to go. Those who missed it because it was too early in the morning ended up missing something quite intriguing, not least because the speakers dealt with a variety of issues of great importance to those of us who speak. The first speaker compared our messages to different types of chicken feed, pointing out the benefit of a balanced speech that included Bible study insights, teaching/admonition, as well as relatable presentation. The next speaker picked up from there and spoke about various ways that speakers can write with inspiration and keep track of topics that spur thought and that are worthy of being discussed by others. Then there was some time spent working on crafting messages from proverbs, something I have been known to do from time to time  before the time came to an end and it was time to do something else.
At that point it was time to practice with the rest of the a capella choir for our special music today. The practice (and performance, at least from what others told me) went off well, and I find myself in a fairly familiar sort of place not too far away from the center of the action. Of course, I also found myself being the center of attention in that when our choir was announced, the speaker found himself unable to avoid making jokes about those of us who were in the choir when we were not teenagers, and being one of the older people in the group and one who tends to have a particular distaste for having attention drawn to the fact that I am somewhat young at heart despite the creeping years, it was less than pleasant to have other people paying close attention to that. It was far less stressful, it should be noted, playing in our small ensemble with a few other musicians and explaining to the wandering children the various parts of a viola.
The messages today were not of the sort that would give someone like me a great deal of peace of mind either. The first speaker gave a very thoughtful presentation that brought into relief some of the struggles and difficulties I find fairly common in this contemporary age, and made it explicit so that this would be a matter of reflection for anyone in the audience paying attention. His graph showed a lot of lines, was based on chronology, and was dedicated to the proposition that just as there is a downward trend to the morality of society at large that is noticeable, so too that as believers find themselves engaged in spiritual growth and approaching God’s standards, there should be an increasing gap between our own behavior and that of the world around us, which should lead to attention being drawn to that difference and that distinction. The second speaker then commented on the matter of not having any regrets when one approaches death–something I think will be difficult for me to avoid given the sort of life I have lived, and managed to punctuate that speech by drawing attention to me and two other gentleman for being particularly knowledgeable and thus responsible for doing far more than normal because to whom much is given, much is expected. I was reminded, rather unpleasantly, of the sort of curse and inducement under which I live my often busy life, but no one could say that the message was one that did not have my attention.
Nor did things slow down much after church was done. I chatted a bit, ate a quick dinner which was my first food of the day, and then returned to help set up the dance which took all of the available time between sunset and when the dance started. Then I sat and chatted while the dance took place, while people young to middle aged needled me about who I was going to dance with (I did not end up dancing with anyone) and where the repetition of songs drew the attention of others around in sometimes humorous ways. I was reminded, if any reminder were necessary, of why I tend to be a fairly sociable person even though I also find dances to be immensely stressful in a somewhat existential ways. One old lady even managed to “helpfully” comment that one isn’t going to cease being single by sitting on the sidelines, reminding me again of why I dislike people paying attention to my rather cautious and restrained ways so much. If I danced with people, that would come under scrutiny, and when I do not, that too comes under scrutiny. Why do other people feel it necessary to put me, and those I happen to enjoy spending time with, under such scrutiny? When the dance was done it was time for me to go home and try to sleep some and then get ready for another day of murdering my feet and serving others. And that task I must now begin.
 See, for example: