Our maestro dispensed with pleasantries and quickly launched into deep waters. We sat on the edge of our seats waiting for downbeats and singing. Instead, we got profundity. “We really want to have that magic happen in performance,” he said too casually. “Too often we get there in rehearsal and then ‘mail it in’ for performance. Let’s try to stay in the moment so we can achieve that magic in performance.” Uh huh. Or something like that; I only half-heard his comments.
Singing… I was waiting for the singing.
We sailed delightfully through his signature composition, giddy when we finally heard the whole choir together for the first time. Eagerly we dashed into the second piece, expecting the same. Instead the conductor hop-scotched through measures and phrases, endings, beginnings, verses. Where was our start-to-finish? Confused, I waited for another chance to hear the whole.
It never happened. How unsatisfying.
Taking a deep breath, I chose to trust our composer-conductor’s wisdom, but it wasn’t until after the concert that my pondering revealed the underlying pervasive challenge. It resonated then and still reverberates now as I hear from Jesus, as I speak and train, and even as I write.
How do I NOT peak too early? The first thoughts are brilliant, but the repetitions? Not so much.
How do I communicate the right words at the right time, until we all arrive at that perfect moment of understanding—that place of revelation and “aha!”—together?
I tussled with that same question once more this spring, just before I spoke at a conference. I wanted to make all my points and craft the impact “just so,” but after hours of trying, I couldn’t nail it down. Frustrated, I slapped my pen down on the table and ranted at God. “What?!” I demanded. “What is it? WHY can’t I get this down on paper?”
“In the moment,” God replied. I was instantly transported back to the concert and the maestro. Perhaps his helter-skelter approach to the rehearsals was not so random after all. He pressed the point, never allowing us the security of a concert program. Instead we had to wait and listen until he announced each piece. And here I was, waiting for my Conductor God to tell me the order of the program. And. He. Wouldn’t.
“Gah!!!” I spurted, exhaling as my shoulders sank. “You mean I have to face that group with no idea what I will say? No script? No outline? Nothing??” His silence confirmed what I suspected. Staying in the moment meant knowing my subject (or my music) and creating from what the Creator showed me. He knew where I was going and I had to trust He could get me there. It was definitely NOT the answer I wanted, but it was all He offered.
Plans in hand, would I trust Conductor God to direct my words?
“In the moment,” God said again. “The ‘magic’ will happen when you don’t anticipate, but stay in the moment.” Like the electric choir performance with a confident conductor, this conference talk would only work if I knew my topic, waited for my cues, and followed the Master.
Closing my notebook, I took a deep breath and stood in front of the audience, confident that I was, for once, truly “in the moment,” and He would not disappoint.
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