(Picture: Juni via Creative Commons)
Today I have another guest post for you. This one is by a good friend of mine Tim Gallen. Tim’s a fellow writer from the States who writes both fiction and non-fiction, and has some great insight and real talent with words. He’s a great storyteller, and has some funny but insightful stories to share with us. He’s a top guy with a real gift and message for us today, and I’m excited to be hosting him here. He begins this post with a funny story from High School…
The summer after I graduated from high school, I participated in a theatre program where we performed a musical revue of various Broadway shows. I had participated in the spring musical a few months prior and desired — as the know-it-all 18-year-old I was — a solo to sing. Never mind that I had never sung a solo in my life.
But I always enjoyed singing and, hey, I was awesome.
Not long after auditioning for the summer program, I found out I was tabbed to sing a song. I was elated!
I don’t recall what song I sang or what musical it was from. But it was a duet, so I wouldn’t be on stage alone. As we rehearsed in the coming weeks, I’ll admit, I didn’t practice as hard as I should have. I’ve always had this tendency to wing things. And, if my memory serves me right, I winged — wung? — my part of the song.
I remember being on stage and that all-too-familiar sense of dread flooding over me. I started to sing and made it through the first verse well enough. But when time came for the second verse, my mind literally blanked. I had no clue what lyric came next. I stood there on stage, leaning in close to the girl with whom I dueted, doing my best to act like I was in love with her all the while moving my mouth to sing lyrics I had completely forgotten.
I sang the first thing that came to mind. Something about how this girl’s love made my heart aglow. Your love makes my heart aglow? What does that even mean?
I didn’t have time to think, however, as my fellow singer belted out her words just fine, drawing us to the end of the song. I’m not sure how, but I managed to stay on key with her as we sang the final lines in unison. I may have even given the few final notes a nice manly vibrato. Or not.
We stood there with faux looks of longing — though mine probably resembled embarrassment — as the music ended and the audience rewarded us with applause.
We ran off the stage and, had I not an overarching sense of obligation, I probably would have kept running. Far away from the theatre and audience and my fellow cast members.
The night I forgot the lyrics was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Looking back on it more than a dozen years later, I still cringe.
My inner critic likes to jump up and down like a child who knows the answer desperately wanting the teacher to call on him. He wants to remind me how humiliating it was to forget the words, even after a dozen years.
Like most cringe-worthy experiences, however, nothing of consequence truly came of it. I did not die of embarrassment. Or anything else — at least, not yet. And I sure remembered the words for the remaining two performances that summer.
The funny thing is, I bet I’m the only one who even remembers.
Isn’t that the way of most, if not all, embarrassing moments? We assign some big, hairy meaning to some minor setback or failure, and thus allow it to stealthily dictate certain ways we live our lives and what to believe about ourselves. The supposed “lessons” such flubs teach us seep in down to our marrow.
We are not perfect. Despite the witty words and mask of cool confidence we reflect to the world, perfection is a myth.
Embarrassment reminds us of this fact. But this does not mean we are failures or incapable of great things.
Rather, it reinforces the necessity of relying on Jesus.
Because, unlike us, He is perfect. In every way.
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