Sometimes I’m the invisible guy that stands at the back behind the sound board, the guy that runs the media. The guy that’s visible only when something doesn’t work. I like it back there.
In December, I was helping with a funeral, working with my friend Lee. We had prerecorded music, PowerPoint, video, and live singing in addition to the usual speaking. And we were recording the whole service.
After thirteen funerals in 2008 and several in 2009, we’re pretty comfortable working together. And we enjoy making things run smoothly for families who are struggling.
Before the service, because it was around Christmas, the family was pinning flowers on family members, on the ministers. It was a nice touch.
And then they brought flowers to Lee and I, up in the balcony, out of sight. First time in all those funerals. First time in 30 years of running sound.
And that’s where I was going to stop when I started this post, with a simple, “encourage someone invisible.”
And then I remembered Kenny. Kenny is a guy I knew who ran sound professionally. I’d go to events around town and Kenny would be there. I liked him. He was good at what he did.
He was not a church person, so it was interesting how many events he got stuck running sound for that were churchy events. His boss did that on purpose, a little, I think. He hoped it would rub off.
Last spring I was at a dinner for an organization that is all about helping people. Kenny was running sound. I was glad to see him again. We chatted and then I sat down and he went back to work. The featured act was a comedian. Something wasn’t exactly right about the sound system at one point. The comedian put Kenny on the spot, in the middle of the show, in front of everyone.
For me, the night was over. Everything the comedian said after that, things that were about caring for people, about family mattering, was irrelevant. He didn’t understand that you can’t talk about love while your actions to the people helping you show disrespect.
It’s a big contrast. A grieving family still can love the sound guys. A well-paid comedian gets laughs at the expense of the sound guy.
I should probably take flowers to Kenny, just to apologize for all the people who ignored him, argued with him, treated him like a part of the equipment on their way to talk about God’s love.
I’d be putting them on his grave. He killed himself last fall.