out of practice

I helped run tech for a funeral today. We had a video to play, recordings for the family on cassette and CD, a video feed to the overflow, five singing family members, and a couple other things. As the tech side of events goes, this was pretty easy. I’ve dealt with much more.

However, I was pretty anxious for the first half of the service.

I am out of practice.

When I run sound all the time, when I operate equipment all the time, I find it easier to relax, to handle the challenges. When I do it every few months, I start confident, but soon begin to worry. I know how to do everything, but I forget how to do everything at the same time with an audience and a deadline.

Which makes me think about conversation, about friendship, about prayer, about exercise, about writing. For each of those and many other skills, we know how to do them. We can describe the steps, we can point to times that we have done each. However, we may not make a practice of doing them. And then, when the time comes, what we used to be able to do with ease is difficult, frustrating, uncertain.

“I can run sound” is much different than “I do run sound” is much different than “I have run sound”. The former implies a competence, the latter, a potential. The middle phrase, “I do” points to an ongoing experience, a commitment to staying in practice.

“I can carry on a conversation” is much different than “I have conversed with people.” What I want to work on, what shows a commitment, is “I am talking with Nancy all the time.”

I realized today that if I want to run tech occasionally, I need to run tech regularly. I need to stay in practice at what matters. If I want to have friends, pray, exercise, converse…I need to actually do them.

Or quit saying that I can.


6 responses to “out of practice

  1. “I need to stay in practice at what matters.”…Thanks for the reminder.

  2. thanks, Amy, for reminding me of what I said.

  3. i stepped away from the friend thing this summer
    for different reasons
    it does take practice
    in fact
    now that i look at my life
    i have let many things fall to the side
    my ukulele
    calling long distance
    returning emails

    that’s not so innocent looking when i write them out in list form
    i need a kick in the pants

    maybe this was a reminder to kick my pants for forgetting to remember to do these things that i had forgotten to remember to do

  4. it’s not just me?

    I wonder whether there has been a friend fatigue for lots of people this summer.

    Hmm. lot’s of people i know online have met this late spring and summer. that means that our physical lives have added that dimension of friend…and maybe we have needed time to figure out how to process, what to do.

    some people, the outgoing, lots of people around them no matter what the world (digital or analog) people, are energized. others, the reflective, people are great but draining in large doses people, need time to reflect.


    thanks for helping/making me think. But what I think is that as things cool off, there will be emotional space to warm up again. or, when we get past traditional “summer vacation” thinking, we’ll be ready.

  5. northpointcc

    There is an even greater distancing. I worked as a meat cutter in high school and college. I often had people try to impress me with their knowledge of meat cutting by telling me that their dad or uncle or grandfather was once a meat cutter.

    Sometimes it is easier to talk about the relationships that others have than it is to build relationships.

  6. Oh tom. just cut to the heart.

    And be exactly right.