I mean no disrespect to Queen Elizabeth by this title, or any other lady whose name happens to start with “E”. And it’s NOT an April Fool’s joke. It just has something to do with an unpleasant memory from my past.
This post will definitely depart from my usual topics. It will also probably be the only one like it that I ever post. Although, never say, “never”.
As a young child, I grew up stuttering. By the grace of God, I’ve been able to get over it, except on very rare occasions, and then for only a word of two. This post is about the two different times I’ve overcome this malady.
The first time, I was just a child, maybe twelve. The title for the post comes from an episode in school. The teacher had the class read, out loud, a certain piece. When it was my turn, I came to the words, “Queen Elizabeth,” and got stuck. I couldn’t get past the “E” in her name.
My grandmother used to room and board students, mostly, from the local junior college. I spent the summers with her. One summer, she had this lady student. I developed a crush on her. Twelve years old. What can I say?
I don’t know if this lady knew how I felt about her. I hope not. Anyway, one day, for some reason, she offered me a quarter if I would stop stuttering. No, she wasn’t being mean; she was being kind. I don’t know what she expected from this offer. Maybe nothing. Surprise! It worked! I got my quarter. Don’t ask me how or why. I have no idea.
I had no problems speaking for about ten years.
Forward to my own college days. Now I was 23. Old. My freshman year, I met a girl in Detroit. I fell for her. I prayed a lot about this and I was convinced she was the one for me. She wasn’t. She didn’t share my feelings. She broke up with me. It broke my heart. [I asked God, “Why,” but He didn’t answer. He just gave me this sense of being comforted I had never experienced before, or since.] I didn’t know at the time that He had someone else for me, someone who is just right! I hope He had someone else just right for her, too.
Just in passing, she came down to the school my senior year, with the friend, I think, who had introduced us. She came into a classroom where I was. It was the strangest thing. I had an uprush of emotion, like the old gas stoves used to do when you turned them off – a rush of gas, and flame, before it went out. That uprush of emotion, then nothing. I said, “Hello, —,” to her, but I was “over” her.
I just wasn’t over my reaction to her breaking up with me. I had begun to stutter again. Since I was a pastoral student, this was not a good thing. Even though the Lord did lead me to a church as pastor, I still stuttered.
I also led singing. I love to sing. As I was singing, I noticed something. When I was singing, I never stuttered, even over words that would have been hard to say. I would go to the church during the week when there was no one there, stand behind the pulpit and sing. I tried to pay attention to what it was that made me able to sing words I had trouble saying. I tried to talk in the same way. I don’t know exactly why, but it worked. As I said earlier, I have only occasional trouble, usually when I get excited about something, or nervous. It’s been about 45 years since then.
I’m not a speech therapist. I’ve never been to one. I don’t know anything about it. I just know my own experience. If you stutter, I don’t know if what I did would work for you. Probably the offer of a quarter wouldn’t do much. But you might try the singing. See if you stutter doing that. You might try doing the same things talking that you do singing. See if it works.
If it does, or not, I’d love to hear from you. Or if you overcame stuttering some other way that doesn’t include expensive professionals. Nothing against them, they do good work. It’s just that God sometimes uses people to help us; sometimes He doesn’t. But what you did or learned might help someone else. Through this post, I hope what I learned helps someone
God’s blessing to you.