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Monday, November 09, 2009

Never lost, always found (17): Tongue in check

Moses, however, said to the LORD, "If you please, LORD, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor recently, nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue."

The LORD said to him, "Who gives one man speech and makes another deaf and dumb? Or who gives sight to one and makes another blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

Go, then! It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you are to say."

Exodus 4:10-12

I had a major presentation last week in the huge ballroom of a top Manila hotel. In it were dozens of physician colleagues, past and present teachers, and many kindred souls who took time out (and shelled out serious money) to listen to updates in the field of Family and Community Medicine. The latter's presence ought to have made the presentation a comfortable ride. However, a couple of hours before my scheduled talk, I was so nervous I thought I would pass out.

At the height of my anxiety and self-doubt, I requested a colleague to pray with me. We found a quiet spot at the back of the hall and he began to pray with me in earnest. And as expected, as soon as he uttered "Amen" a great wave of peace began to quiet my troubled heart. While awaiting my turn to speak, I quit fiddling with my slides, I stopped surfing for answers to any and all possible questions, I closed the ten or so web browser tabs I was nervously juggling and jotting notes from.

Soon after, I was called to the stage and I began my presentation. I did my best to convey the message I was assigned to deliver- Preparing for Outbreaks and Epidemics- in the time alloted. I struggled a bit during the open forum part but I would like to believe that I was able to more than just "wing it." Then, before I knew it, I already had to descend from the stage to give way to the next speaker.

In my confusion, God is my clarity. In my anxiety, God is my peace. In my folly, God is my way forward.

(A bonus after the presentation, seeing this amazing sunset over Manila Bay just across the hotel's parking lot =])

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