Lessons Learned

It has been an insane last two weeks… mostly because we hosted a youth rally this past weekend.  Over the course of four days, there were about 2000+ people who showed up for one event or another… thankfully, not all at the same time.  That would have been truly insane!

And during all of the crazy busyness, I learned/re-learned some valuable lessons.  You probably don’t need these reminders but I’m going to share them anyway… more for my sake than yours.

Aren’t People Funny?

Everyday life requires a certain level of “whatever-ness”… the ability to ask for and give on-the-fly forgiveness.  If we can’t do that, then we make ourselves crazy… and in turn, the world around us feels crazy/out-of-balance/worthless.

“Aren’t people funny?” is a phrase I often throw out when I cannot fathom why a person said or did something hurtful.  Something that I think is silly… but something the other person evidently holds up as Gospel-truth.  [More often than not, the person has no clue how their message was received… not an excuse for their behavior… just a fact.]

I can only choose my own reaction.  Plenty of opportunities to practice that this past weekend… including a comment that “liturgy had better start on time this year because last year you started 10 minutes late.”  Wow… there’s nothing better than holding a silly grudge like that for a whole year.

Hmmph… all I could say was “Aren’t people funny?”  [Btw… we ended up waiting on him this year.]

So when schedules run late… when your voice cracks in the middle of a solo… when equipment gets misplaced… you may have an opportunity to respond silently or out loud even:  Aren’t people funny?  I find it a kind way to shrug off the “whatever-ness” and move on.

Artists choose art.

AboriginalArtTotemI’ve talked about the art economy before… the idea comes from Seth Godin and others and basically says that we can’t expect to sit back in a job to collect a paycheck and expect the world to take care of us just because we show up for work.

The world isn’t “changing”… it has already changed!

Artists are the ones who have embraced change and given their best gifts to the world.  Not just with sculptures or paintings or symphonies or ballets.

Artists give art because they want to make the world a better place.  So they create ebooks and new processes to accomplish projects… they provide hospitality and customer service with an exceptional attitude… they put in extra hours/donate their gas and mileage/and generally go above and beyond what is required to offer what is necessary and beneficial to the people they serve.

Artists choose art.  Because it makes the rest of life worthwhile.

Take a risk on the worthy adventure.

In general, most people do not choose to risk.  The gamblers of the world typically wager money or time, perhaps even a broken-heart.  But stepping outside of the self comfort zone is more often avoided.

Why is that?

My best guess is because we’re afraid of looking stupid.  [Again, reasonable… but not really a good excuse.]

I missed the page in the How-to-Be-Human-Handbook where it says we are all required to be perfect.  Seems to me that looking stupid once in a while is just part of the whole gig.

I’ll let you in on a secret… this happened on Saturday at the rally.  In front of 600+ people during the liturgy, my voice cracked horribly off-key during the Lamb of God.  Really bad.  Turns out the piano player had set the keyboard up three steps too high… and my tired voice at the end of a really long week just couldn’t get up into the rafters to cantor the song.  Aka, I looked really stupid.

It was entirely embarrassing… and now hundreds of people think I can’t sing worth a nickel.  Oh well.

But it was a totally worthy adventure.

And the rest of all this is a totally worthy adventure… and I’m willing to risk it.  Because I choose art.  Even though I will likely be saying and thinking Aren’t people funny?

Chalk it up to lessons learned this week.

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About Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.

2 responses »

  1. r says:

    I will remember that in the pastoral center!!! Great blog today…makes me laugh at all the funny people I encounter…and of course, I am NEVER that person who is “Funny”

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