I was doing slides at church today for the first time in a while. And they’ve adjusted the position so much from when I first started doing it. I’m probably the most senior member of the slides crew, I remember the days when we had to build the slides presentation from scratch. On a church-owned laptop, that would be passed around from slide person to slide person like a nuclear suitcase, so the next person could build that week’s presentation.
But the church has grown, and the church’s budget has grown, and someone somewhere decided it was more efficient to have a paid staff member build the presentation, but still have a volunteer be the one to punch the buttons to make the slides go during the service. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they completely eliminate my position within the next year, and have a paid staff person punch the button. It’s not any skin off my nose, I was a volunteer. If they eliminate my position, I guess I’ll go direct cars in the parking lot or something.
Regardless, the past two weeks have been super exhausting, as I have been working on projects that MIGHT have schedules, that POSSIBLY have contracts, and WHISPERS of payments, and yes, I am indeed couching those things in vague vague Maybe Someday language, so as to not jinx the goings on.
But things are going on.
Unless they’re not.
STAY AWAY JINXIES, STAY AWAY!
So I’m tired beyond tired, and I’m sitting behind the computer. The band leader has assured me that he didn’t know I was going to be doing slides today, and that the worship song selection of “Open The Eyes Of My Heart” in no way reflects the band leader teasing me, because the band leader knows (because I’ve told him several times) that is my most hated worship song. I hate that song. I HATE THAT SONG. It’s like the most pedestrians, most banal worship songs ever. And I have to punch the buttons that make the lyrics slide go and the band leader is grinning at me from the stage and I’m just tired.
“At least we got rid of Lord I Lift Your Name On High” the Stage Manager cracks. Small comfort.
So I’m doing alright through the first service, haven’t biffed anything major, and then I hit the wall during the second service. I’ve already sat through the sermon, I’ve already taken notes. It’s not an especially taxing slide presentation, and so in order to keep myself awake, I’m going back through my sermon notebook and adding to my table of contacts and my eyes are growing heavy so I’m just going to close them for a moment.
And then I miss a cue. The audience doesn’t suspect a thing, the pastor isn’t really thrown, because he’s really into delivering the message. And in truth, the cue that I’ve missed is not a terrible thing, it’s not like nothing makes sense without the map of Phrygia up, it’s not like Colossae exists today anyway, since an earthquake allegedly took it out in 60 AD (see? I told you I was taking notes.)
Anyhow, the Phrygia map is not up when it’s supposed to be and right as I figure it out, the Stage Manager, sitting next to me, gently stretches his arm over and hits the button so the map comes up on screen. And there’s no glare, no frown. Just a gentle stretched arm over, and a tap of the mouse. And the Stage Manager smiles at me warmly. Maybe he knows I’m tired. Maybe he can sense that I’m under stress from maybe schedules, or possible deadlines or wispy promises of payments. Or maybe he can’t. Maybe he thinks I’m new and that’s why I missed the cue. It doesn’t matter.
It’s just another metaphor to me about what God is like. I am me, the tired exhausted slide operator who’s barely hanging on to consciousness during the second service of the day and God is the gentle Stage Manager who helps me stay on track.
It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it’s all I’ve got right now.