There are some people who are smooth, graceful, aware of themselves and the way their body moves in space. They glide or float across the room. I am not one.
I am the sort of person who goes to casually lean against the wall, only to thump hard against the said wall because it’s a good three inches farther away than I thought. Or clangs her forearm against the doorknob on the way past. Twice in the same day.
So, I knew it was just a matter of time before I managed to share this aspect of myself with the congregation on a Sunday morning.
Today was the day. The service had gone pretty smoothly, all things considered. I was running on fumes. I pulled together the sermon last night after driving up to Atlanta on Friday and back yesterday (yes, Saturday). I didn’t sleep well, and woke up feeling a little woozy. So, even though I didn’t bring quite as much energy as usual, I felt pretty good about things as we headed into the close of the service.
While the organist/music director taught the new Benedictory Response to the congregation, I shifted over to the side of the chancel, joining the choir and congregation as we practiced the song. I thought I would move down the three steps to the floor while he finished, just to be efficient and ready to pronounce the benediction.
Except that I had moved to the part of the chancel where the steps angled a bit. So when I stepped down, I missed the first step with my left foot and dropped down to the second. Which led to a series of very quick steps and a couple of spins to keep the momentum from tossing me into the first row of pews.
This unplanned bit of liturgical choreography was met by a chorus of octogenarian gasps — and a silent prayer from this preacher “Oh, dear Lord, don’t let anyone go into heart failure over this!”
I threw up my hands in a position somewhere between a classic blessing and a gymnast who has just barely controlled a landing, flashed two thumbs up and said into my microphone…
My unflappable friend at the organ continued on for a few more sentences, then smiled and pronounced us ready to sing. He later confided that he was ad-libbing in hopes it would help me pull together enough to pronounce a benediction… so the congregation could sing its response.
The mere fact that people mentioned the sermon, the choir’s anthem and the prayers – in addition to my little dance – on the way out the door is proof that grace abounds.
Even if not in my feet.