What can I say? No excuses. No context. No explanation. No kidding. I cracked!
To be clear, it was the mountain air. Spending a few days in that climate affected me. My sinuses were clogged, and my breathing was labored. Singing, “Hold me fast! Let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,” I was holding on for dear life! I had gotten through “How Great Thou Art” and “The Lifeboat.” I knew I did not have full control of my voice as I normally do, but the disaster had yet to happen. Needing water and a rest, my voice went on vacation all by itself!
It was more like a “break in the action” rather than a full blowout. Opening my mouth, nothing came out! It was not the thirteen-year-old shriek that sounds more like finger nails running down the chalkboard. Just….nothing! Feeling my voice surging with an uncontrollable vibrato, I landed as quickly as possible and started my voyage through thirty minutes of preaching. Needless to say, what happened was beyond my control.
Jotting a few thoughts down as I left that old, mountain church, I give to you what God gave to me on the steep incline to the state road leading home.
IF YOU CRACK, MOVE ON
It happens to everyone, and it will happen to you. No amount of salve, honey, lemon juice, gargled salt water, or throat lozenges will prevent it. You have to do your best to get through.
We cannot always be at our best. People get that; they are people, too! Resist the urge to announce to the congregation that you are currently fighting a “viral infection of the upper respiratory system, including the nose, throat, sinuses, eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes.” Just sing!
And if in the course of singing you crack, just relax and move on. Stopping to call attention to that which everyone already heard makes the atmosphere uncomfortable, and you become even more the center of attention. Just move on!
ERRORS HUMANIZE US
Most likely, the trouble I have in singing is remembering the words. I have rewritten some classic songs right on the spot! However, this one hurt. I cracked! Thinking I was beyond that, it hurt my pride. Thank God for times like those!
Several years ago, such a word-crisis took place. It always seems like it happens in those songs that I know the best. We will call it “musical muscle memory.” We have sung or played that song so many times that we mindlessly go through the motions in ministering it that if we fall of the wagon at any time, we fail to remember how to get back on the trail!
Losing my place, I made up some words and finished the song with the loudest, proudest coup de gras! After all, if you nail the last note the congregation forgets everything they heard before the faux pas! Right?
At the end of that service a dear lady came up to me and said, “I love when you mess up; it humanizes you to us.” I will never forget that. In my heart I felt like she was saying, “You connected with us in a way that your singing does not normally connect.” It was not robotic nor rehearsed; it was real.
To be honest, I still hate that I missed those words, but what blesses people most is something that is real.
IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD
That country church was so small that I had my wife working sound in the attic. No one was there to assist me, so my wife and I spent the hour early we arrived plugging in microphones and prelude sounds. She, knowing me better than others, knew I was struggling, but most of the saints, just kept smiling and praising the Lord! Just maybe they were thinking of the storms they were going through in their life and my song might have produced an inner peace to remind them that the storms over their heads are under Christ’s feet.
How selfish it would be if I made that experience all about me. Friend, our lives, are for the glory of God! When it becomes about you and me, it ceases to be about Him!
MY PRIDE NEEDS AN OCCASIONAL RESET
If that hurt my pride, shame on me. It is a good feeling to remember who and what I am! I am the chiefest of sinners in need of the Saviour! I am nothing but He is everything. I am lint in the pages of history! I live in time: He in eternity. I am mortal, yet serving the Immortal One!
That night, I left thoroughly reminded of the human body and its Creator. I left feeling totally inadequate to walk without Him holding my hand. This pitiful creature groaned for the redemption of this temporal building.
God does not need this voice, but this voice sure needs Him! The Voice cried out, He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
So, you cracked? You hit a wrong note? You forgot your words? You came in late or rested early? It’s not the end of the world. You proved once again that we are all human in need of the Savior. Make peace with your pride and move on. There is always next time.
God bless you as you serve Jesus Christ with your best. Selah!