I Have Fears Like Everyone Else

The first reading begins. I start my way down from the choir loft. Even though it’s too tight around my needlessly thick neck, I button up my collar because I need to look prim when I’m cantoring. I walk down the left-side aisle waiting to hear “The word of the Lord—thanks be to God” so I can process to the middle, bow, and take the ambo for myself. I know exactly what I’m doing. Heck, “To You, O Lord” is so ingrained in my head that I could do the harmony by memory. And yet, despite all of this and against every plan I made, my heart is pounding so hard I can hear it, and I can’t even breath properly to calm down because of my stupid collar. All my entrances are good, but I know I don’t have enough breath to finish each line of text. Worst Case Scenario has started and I’m losing confidence the more I sing. My voice on the line “Keep me in the way of your truth” has gotten thinner and thinner until you can’t hear me singing “truth”. The psalm mercifully ends after the fourth refrain, and I meekly shuffle back to the choir loft trying not to make eye-contact with any of the parishioners.

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