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.