Instead of spending time shopping for Easter candy or something new to wear, I spent Easter week making sure my work church was ready, and then I spent my spare time clicking a mouse and pressing arrow keys. Oh, I did a little typing, some formatting, but it was all about advancing words at the correct speed so people can sing along in Praise and Worship.
The Communications Pastor quietly sat down next to me and made small talk. "How are you doing Robin?"
"Okay," I say. I was a little nervous because I am but a mere clicker volunteer, not big and important like a Director, Technical Director, lighting or audio Tech or any of the other positions it takes to get the job done. The head of all things rarely even comes through the control room.
"How’s work been?"
"Great" I say but not really knowing what she is asking me.
"Are you comfortable, have everthing you need?"
"Yes ma’am," I say. She most definitely is a yes ma’am kind of person.
Then she made motions of getting up and moving on and she sort of casually said, "Oh, we’d like you to advance the slides a little faster. People are done reading and they are ready to move on to the next slide."
I gave her what I hoped was my best blank look. The one where no words are flashing across my forehead. I was in church after all!
"Okay," I say. My urge to point out that I know a thing or two about music, that after two years of clicking I AM the "A" team, and I’ve never had to do it that way before.
"I will see what I can do," I said, but thinking that at least I have the rest of rehearsal to try my new speed. So I turned my attention to the wall of monitors to try to get back on track in the rehearsal.
"And that’s the end of our rehearsal, now go and pray in the auditorium," I heard the Worship Leader say. It was a full 45 minutes early. No rehearsal time for my newly ordered speed.
"Oh CRAP" I let fly. I sort of stunned myself saying it outloud. Just a mere 20 minutes into rehearsal time, no complete song run throughs and the Worship leaders calls it done. The anxiety crept up my throat and tightened and twisted my brain. I am a person who likes to rehearse their clicking. It’s not just about speed. My job is also to let them know interludes, breaks, ends of songs. My job is also to correct punctuation, spellings, and spacing. I am just OCD enough to also like to do things in a particular order. Now my order was tossed out the window!
I did the only thing I could do. I whined. I whined to the Director, I whined to my supervisor, and I whined to the Associate Pastor. They alll assured me I would be fine, but they also all said, if that’s what the Communications Pastor wants that is what she gets.
So, Worship started and I was on edge as much as when I first starting clicking. I had to shake my hand and wipe it dry. Honestly, my finger was sweating. The first song was Joyful Joyful (from Sister Act) and the Youth did a great job. Slides for this go fast but I managed to keep ahead.
The next song was a familiar one but the first slide was off, second slide was off, in fact the first 6 slides were completely out of order. I found my place but I had all kinds of people huddled around me poking fingers at my screen trying to be helpful. GADS! I was all prickly with anxiety now. I think I might have started to cry but got a grip. It turns out one of the interns had sat at my computer and mindlessly sort of played tic tac toe with my slides, probably while on a cell phone call, then just walked away. In a place where everything is secure, even body guards accompany the pastor, my lyric computer is wide open. I don’t even have my own login to secure the screen.
Anyway, that mess up stuck with me the rest of the service. It was aggrevated by the weekend set up that allowed too many people to gather and chit chat in the control room, I had trouble hearing cues, trouble giving cues, and at the end of the night I felt like removing myself to a hole in the hillside out back of church. I think I did have tears rolling down my face. It’s just so unacceptable to myself to be average or worse. But honestly, I was the only one being hard on me. I got thanked for my work. As it turned out more than just me had issues with the noise and the chaos so the next services were markedly improved.
Scripture slides went well and although they were the same for all services, the message was changed up and they were called for in different orders. Acts 2 is a big chapter and moving between slides was a challenge. It went well though.
I’d like to point out that my mistakes are big and out front for everyone to see. If a camera guy messes up, the Director selects a different shot. No, my mistakes can cause the entire congregation to crash into the choir, or make the pastor look like a dope. You might think clicking is not that important but it is, especially in this day in age when memorizing song lyrics isn’t done much. We are a bunch of folks who rely on screens and cues. I take my clicking very seriously.
Sitting tight and tense with your brain cells focused can be exhausting so once home I planned on vegging in the quiet. In the past few months I’ve had several discussions with my husband about quiet and comtemplative atmosphere following church. I need it. He doesn’t. He needs basketball. He needs football. Or he needs junk movies to be on while he reads. Quiet is not something someone can do who has a bit of a hearing difecit either. No, volumn is key.
I settled into my bedroom with the door closed feeling the need to nap and have dinner out. But dinner plans were not in my control either, unexpected company, and a few other twists and turns for the evening took center stage. (Note to self, write about what’s in the garage right now.)
I laid in bed wide awake, long after I imagined and prayed my way through the last few days. I realized it was about control. Not mine. God’s. No matter how much I desire to control I can’t. No matter how experienced, how masterful, how personally needful I am, I am not in control.
God is in control.
Yes Sir Lord.