The worst question I ever get is "what do you do for a living?" It's not that I can't describe the variety of things that I do with my hands and mind at my job. It's just that none of them, alone, fully describes what it is that I do. And the answer that does sum it up isn't something that people get. In short, I help other people tell their stories. Sometimes, that's a simple task of building a website. Sometimes, it involves doing a lot of writing. Sometimes, it involves doing a lot of research work. Lately, it's been involving a lot of web programming and mapping as I let the latest US Census tell a collective story of cities, communities, and neighborhoods tell their stories.
This past week, Ecclesia Church lost a very dear sister and the church was tasked with putting on a memorial service in very short order for Saturday afternoon. For a little-known person who might only have close friends and family, that might not be a problem. But Sarah was different. While she was well-known throughout Ecclesia, she had also decided to share her journey through cancer on a blog, which added another audience and community to her journey. So it was decided that, in order to prevent a standing-room-only situation at Ecclesia just before a Saturday night service, we would give people the option of sharing in the memorial service via webcast. In other words, there was someone else's story to share. And with that, I took on the all-important task of manning a camera to make it go from wide-angle to zoomed in. That's it - two points for the camera to be at, two buttons on a remote control. I wasn't even going to touch the camera itself unless I really had to. Like I said before ... sometimes the description of the manual work doesn't offer the best summary of what I do.
The memorial service itself was a thing of beauty. One of my earliest introductions to Ecclesia was watching Pastor Chris Seay put together a flash-wedding for Sarah via twitter and facebook. In the time that she was with us, I never had the good fortune to meet Sarah. But the service was a wonderful introduction to her. We should all hope that we live lives good enough to remembered half as well as Sarah was. Her's was an amazing story to assist in letting others tell it to as wide an audience as we could muster.
As a slight digression, I'll note a few things about my recent volunteer gig with Ecclesia with the hope of connecting it to the bigger point to be made here. Without getting too techie on anyone, working the video/media side of the A/V booth at Ecclesia has been a very rewarding challenge and even though I knew it was a task that I would love and enjoy taking on, there's been a bit of a learning curve. Among the differences are that I'm now responsible for seamlessly displaying a variety of media for a pastor who has a pretty high bar for excellence in how to use media. I've missed a few queues and the learning process each week has been extremely rewarding. I work with professionals - one on church staff and one who volunteers despite having done media work at a very high level of professionalism. They, as well as the entire tech team I work with, are a joy to serve with.
But listening to Chris' message an hour or so after a moving memorial service, I realized that what it was that really made me appreciate what I get to do was that I help other people tell His story. I've come to appreciate a lot more fully how it is that the A/V team "leads" worship even as we have true worship leaders leading the congregation in song and celebration. I've seen how integral what we do is to the bands we work with and a pastor who, himself, tries to get out of the way and let God's word do the talking. All that while I consider what I do to be a form of worship. In short, I really like what I get to do. It's an amazing journey.
And where all of these points connect is this: I like it so much that I'm hitting the big pause button on this blog.
Part of that is giving in to the obvious - I haven't been blogging very frequently the past few months. But the bigger reason is that my journey is now less about thinking out loud the various concepts and teachings and songs that I rummage through each week. It's increasingly about the one foot I place in front of the other as I try a little harder to walk the walk of Jesus. It's a different part of the journey now.
There's a part of me that would love to try and play out a bit more blog action with this site and read my current state of professional busy-ness to a temporary thing that I surely won't maintain (believe me - precedent supports this theory). But the reality is that the blog was begun as a means of thinking out loud as I began a renewed faith walk back in 2005. I'd seen the value of blogging in other areas and had unexpectedly found a church home at the time, so what better means of working through that process than by blogging about it. The bigger reality for now is that "working through that process" now takes on other meanings.
Since switching gears and moving over to Ecclesia Church, I've had the good fortune to find myself once again in the "ministry of pushing buttons" - volunteering in the A/V booth for a church. When I began that task at Lakewood, it was for a relatively small ministry where the media needs weren't all that critical. I like to think that I added to it in my service there and I know that others helped make it a better, more worshipful place by the time I left. I'd love to take personal pride in that, but really all I tried to do was let God be reflected in a room where others came to commune. In short, I just tried to help Someone Else tell His story. And that's what I'll continue doing.
I appreciate the interest in this blog from those whom I have met and those who I may never meet. It's been a humbling experience to see how widely God's word has impacted people. Learning about that has been the most educational aspect for me in spending what time that I have with this blog. My eternal thanks to all involved for that.