How Karaoke Caught Me By Surprise

microphoneMy wife Tami and I were recently out of town on vacation. As part of our vacation entertainment we gathered into a dimly lit room for a karaoke event. For those that are unaware, karaoke is an opportunity for the average person to get on a stage and sing a song from the past or present with a sound track, microphone and audience.

It’s a reminder of the passage of Scripture that talks about “making a joyful noise.” I will readily admit that some of the “noises” we heard that night were not joyful, and there wouldn’t have been any improvement if it had been me on the stage!

Yes, most of the singing was, well, unbearable.

I’ve only seen karaoke take place on television or in a movie. In those formats it’s either very good or very bad, in order to make some sort of plot move forward. This being our first time at a live performance only demonstrated that karaoke is mostly done on the very bad side. Good performances are clearly an anomaly played out in the media.

That’s when it hit me. While I was wincing at the sound of the performances, the audience of a hundred for the most part were applauding and shouting words of encouragement. I noticed that there were others like me who were wincing, but they were keeping that to themselves. It was like the old song, “Home on the Range” that declares, “Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word…” You get the point. The people on stage had the guts to get up there, something in which I am clearly devoid of. They were doing the hard thing. And a crowd of people who didn’t know them, having traveled to this resort setting from all parts of North America, were there cheering them on.

Still wincing in the midst of this realization of what was going on in the room, I smiled and applauded more loudly when the singer was finished. Not because the song was over, but because the person tried to do what I wouldn’t consider doing.

I’m reminded of work, of family life, of being with friends. And even more notably of being the church. We personally and corporately need to be a safe place for people to try and do the hard thing and cheer them on even when their effort and abilities are not presently up to par. We need to be a people who will provide a place where failure can take place so that success may follow. And what I’ve just written is counter to a culture of doing things with excellence, or not at all.

Hum. Where do you stand on this one?

It is one thing to find out what we’re not good or gifted at. It is another to never try and find out.

What “hard thing” have you tried to do recently, in order to see if it is a “fit” for you? When was the last time you were the audience of encouragement for someone else – even someone you don’t know – to lift them up as they tried to do something hard for the first time?