Here It Is

Here It Is (1,174)

June 11th, 2011

Honesty is the recourse that human beings finally select when they once-and-for-all decide that they really suck at lying. Until then, faulted as we are, we will pursue telling untruths, with the notion that we can pull the wool over people’s eyes and even those of the Great Shepherd of the Universe (though He has no wool).

Being human myself, I am plagued by this particular ill-conceived iniquity. What I have tried to do on my journey is free myself of the need to be right, allowing myself the courtesy of being wrong and discovering it before other folks point it out gleefully.

So here it is: last night I was scheduled into Lawrence, Michigan. About a week and a half ago, Janet did an interview with a local newspaper and discovered through that conversation that the reporter, although a member of the church where we were going to be presenting our program, was completely unaware about the event. This produced some concerns. Usually a certain amount of awareness is necessary for us to proclaim a publicized concert. So Janet completed the interview faithfully and our agent also encouraged the sponsor, so we headed off to Lawrence last night, feeling that we had done everything we could possibly do to prepare for the evening.

We met our benefactor—a lovely, gentle man—and we tried to maintain an optimistic heart beating within our breast. We were blessed to be assisted in our set-up with four of the most endearing, well-behaved and intelligent young children you would ever want to meet. But when seven o’clock rolled around and we walked out, ready to perform, our entire audience consisted of that delightful sponsor, those four children and their sweet, kind mother.

I was disappointed. Please understand that I work very hard on NOT being disappointed—I take into consideration that people have lives and that I am not particularly famous, even though I have quite a respectable résumé. I often consciously think, “If anybody went into a strange town, set up a PA system and invited the community out, what would be the chance that there would be any takers and arrivers for them either?”

Although this is a noble exercise to prepare oneself for possible rejection, when that monster actually does show up (or in my case, DOESN’T show up), no matter how much you have prepared for it, it still stinks.

I was trying to figure out what I was going to be able to share from the show that I had planned, when a couple of other people came in the back door. Although the situation improved with the addition of a few warm bodies, it did little to alleviate the sting of isolation. All the old insecurities of being human came to the forefront: “What am I doing? I am fifty-nine years old, performing to an empty room. Who cares?”

I will agree with you that these are useless emotions, but as long as we keep them in the garage, we occasionally will have to deal with them when we’re looking for a new can of paint. I was grumpy. Then, much to my chagrin, the sponsor and his wife began to hold a private conversation while I was doing my show, and he got up and left the room for a good five or ten minutes, greatly depleting the crowd.

My grumpiness was threatening to become anger. I hate that in myself—but not enough to do away with it. Fussiness is a roommate that should be evicted—but because it always pays its share of the bills and makes up feel better occasionally, we let it remain. I was tempted to allow my nastiness to come out in my interaction with the audience. I was ashamed, but nonetheless, still discouraged.

And then . . . I looked into the faces of those dear young humans. Their eyes were wide with wonder over the wind machine that Janet was playing, and they were quiet—willing to sit and listen to me expound—without any prejudice in their hearts. I shut my trap. I sealed off the cracks in my soul and I refused to allow my disappointed ego to win the day.

It turned out to be an enriching evening with a handful of people. I later found out that the sponsor had departed the room because one of the members of his congregation had been thrown from a horse and was severely injured. I was so glad that my pettiness had not caused me to draw too many conclusions—because there’s always a story that we don’t know about that certainly is bigger than our own emotional needs.

That same delightful sponsor walked up and added a generous personal offering to the collection that truly was a second-mile effort on his part. Ministry went forth, fellowship was achieved and those same wonderful children that helped us carry our equipment in were just as overjoyed to help us carry out.

I left the town feeling a combination of jubilance and shame—shame that I got so angry over being snubbed by the local citizenry and jubilance because I had come to the conclusion that any chance we have to rub up against another human being is a miracle that cannot be denied.

On the way home I wondered if I would be able to share this story candidly in today’s jonathots. Would those fine folks in Lawrence know that I wasn’t blaming them, but rather, was in the midst of a great self-discovery? Would my jonathots readers comprehend the essence of what I was saying and realize the futility of unrealistic expectation? Would the sponsor recognize my appreciation as I related my feelings openly?

About the time that I reached the exit to go to my motel home, I finally comprehended that there was only one requirement for me: to speak the truth with love.

So my dear friends, this is the truth—and I send all my love out to those brothers and sisters in Lawrence. I normally have really great attendance at my concerts, so I shouldn’t be surprised when life balances me out with an occasional lacking.

I can recommend honesty to you—because I have learned over the years that the truth is much easier to recall than a lie. And because lies tend to flitter out of our memories, we end up having to create other fibs on the spot . . .fibs that make us look even more ridiculous.

Published in: on June 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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