Sometimes I Don’t Take the Podium
by Dwayne Phillips
I like to speak in front of audiences. I like to take the podium and talk. Sometimes, however, I don’t take the podium. Sometimes, I need another person to stand in the way and say, “No, not today.”
I recently attended a memorial service for someone who died. Close family members stood at the podium and said a few words. I guess the words were “few” as I didn’t understand any of them. The speaker was overcome with grief and mumbled and didn’t make much sense.
The speaker’s performance was understandable. They were overwhelmed with grief during a terrible day of their life. The thing was, everyone present knew the person was overwhelmed with grief. Overwhelming grief was a theme of the day.
This happened to me several decades ago after my father was killed in an auto accident. I wanted to take the podium and say a few words. Someone stopped me. I cannot remember who that was, but I have always been grateful for that intervention.
Funerals and grief are not the only circumstances in which I shouldn’t take the podium. Someone does something I don’t like. I am fuming. I shouldn’t take the podium. Someone else, who is not fuming, should. It is there place to stop me. It is my place to realize my emotional and mental state and recognize the good deed the other person is doing.
Stop. Consider the situation. Consider my state of mind. Sometimes I don’t take the podium.