This photo captured an interesting moment at Holy Communion this past Sunday morning which so wonderfully embodied the notion that we all have our particular gifts. You see Barb Salvo and Jim Teusch, two of the members of Holy Communion’s church council and part of the property committee which is overseeing a massive renovation of the sanctuary. (There is scaffolding from floor to ceiling and front to back – an awesome sight in a room that size – to allow complete repainting and replastering – plus replacement of both the carpeting and lights. The project started in early June and will be completed – God willing – by early September.) The reason I was on hand – along with worship committee chairperson Val Conner – was because some decisions had to be made about the new lights and specifically what sort of dimmers- and how many – should be installed, and they want to do it in such a way that the choir can have the light they need in the back balcony, especially on a special occasion like Christmas Eve when most of the sanctuary is dimmed but the choir needs some gentle illumination. . . or Good Friday, when the sanctuary grows progressively darker but the choir needs to be able to see what they’re doing. (If you have ever seen what a composition by Greg Berg looks like on the page, you would appreciate how important the matter of proper illumination is for the choir.)
It was so nice for them to ask – and in fact I was shocked by their thoughtfulness, because it was so contrary to what I’ve experienced in other arenas. One instance that comes to mind is the redesigned master control room which went into the radio station a few years back when WGTD was still in its old building. This was back when my colleague Bill Guy was still around, and I can still remember our sinking dismay when we walked into that new studio and instantly realized how many things were wrong with it- – – and how many of the design flaws could have been so easily avoided if they had just thought to ask Bill and I – the two people who were going to use that studio almost exclusively – what we needed. I can’t help but contrast that with the way things were handled with the construction of our current studios, in which our general manager was involved in every step of the design. . .and who chose to consult Dave McGrath and me at every turn. The result is a radio studio that suits us beautifully and makes it so much easier for us to do our work well. . .versus the old place which was the equivalent of a race track with speed bumps every three feet. . . not exactly conducive to the success you’re after. And what really made the difference, more than anything, was that someone cared enough about the quality of the new studio to include us in at least some of the design choices.
And here was the same attitude, as members of the church council sought out my thoughts and opinions on what sort of lights and dimmers would most benefit the senior choir when it sings from the back balcony. And I weighed in with an opinion or two (as did Val) but I mostly came away from that brief session with two feelings: 1) gratitude that they cared to know what I thought, and 2) admiration bordering on awe for anyone who is good at this sort of stuff. By “stuff” I mean things like sorting out how the old lighting is wired – where the dimmer mechanism is now – the various advantages and disadvantages of the various possibilities being weighed – to say nothing of the whole matter of cost comparison and what a congregation without anyone named Rockefeller can afford. All of that sort of thing sails miles and miles above my head, and I’m just glad that there are people out there who not only understand that stuff, but almost seem to enjoy it.
Not me. And what really defeats me is the whole notion of trying to picture something that isn’t there yet. I suppose I’m a fairly creative guy in some ways, but when it comes to something as simple as imagining various options for rearranging the furniture in a room, my wife is Einstein and I’m Archie Bunker . . . set in my ways and almost completely incapable of imagining something new. And even when someone draws a picture or diagram, I might as well be reading sanskrit. Fortunately, God in His great wisdom created us in all kinds of shapes and sizes and colors and personalities, and with a wide array of possibilities for giftedness. . . including people who can actually read those diagrams and make sense of them, and even create things by following those diagrams. . . to say nothing of those remarkable people who know how to keep the lights on. Where would we be without them? In the dark, that’s where.