Sunday, September 17, 2006
Perceptions (and expectations).
A chalice? Or two faces?
This morning GP added a second service. We had a taste of two services last Easter, but this week, we made it official. I cannot fully express how awed and humbled I am to be a part of some pretty serious mission work here in Las Vegas.
As would be expected, tensions were high and tempers sparked. We had prepared ourselves as best we could, but the reality played out somewhat differently than we had imagined. The sound board was a bit of a jumble, so I ran drama rehearsal dry. Our actors were fantastic-- keeping their focus amidst drum tuning, light placement, and countless other distractions. Finally, the sound guys were ready for us; newly miced, our actors once again took their places. Piece of cake, to dial them in, right? WRONG!!! Feedback like you wouldn't believe from one, no signal from another, and still with the drum tuning (ugh).
We meet in a school cafeteria, and the noise level was out of control. I could not communicate with the guys (specifically my husband) in back for all the chatter and hack. I asked a question and got no reply (that I could tell). Finally, I raised my voice, "Jon, I need you to talk to ME about this, please."
Answer back, "I am TRYING, but I have six other problems to address back here."
That was pretty much the extent of our exchange, and after much trial and error, we ironed out the problems. End of story, right?
Wrong. No less than three different people approached me in the next few minutes asking variations of, "Are you and Jon ok? Is everything all right between you two?"
It never occurred to me that there was a problem. Things were tense, yes, but my voice was raised simply because I could not otherwise be heard. I assumed (correctly, BTW) that Jon's was raised for the same reason. We were not yelling at each other, we were yelling to each other. However, to a casual observer, this was a very different picture.
These perceptions, however mistaken, are important to consider. Not only as a family, but on a broader level- as Christians. Jon and I need to be more careful how we get each other's attention, not only to help avoid misunderstandings, but also to not make others uncomfortable. We are scrutinized because of our relationship and our responsibilities within our church community. In all fairness, as we are relatively newlywed, there is something of a learning curve. This cannot be an excuse, though; we must be more cognizant of others.
As Christians, we have a whole laundry list of perceptions and expectations, some reasonable, others not. It is not our job to decide which of these is which, merely to exhibit as much grace as we can. The limits of our sinful nature must never become an excuse; we should hold ourselves to as strict a standard as we can, allthewhile exercising charity and mercy with our brothers and sisters.
It is important to consider that my chalice may be misinterpreted as two faces in silhouette.