Monday, January 14, 2008

audience

The audience is the key. When I write this down, it all seems absurd to me. Growing through the “what I want to be when I grow up” phase of my life, consideration of an audience never even registered with me. Nothing that I was interested in had any type of audience attached. Actually, had I pursued my original path, I would have spent considerable amounts of time completely alone in vast stretches of wilderness, as opposed to the urban jungle which I now find myself a resident of. Fortunately, I have this thing for warm showers and shaving and all, so here I sit, fairly domesticated.
The only alone time I can seem to be able to carve out now is in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours that most people tend to avoid. It’s fine with me, I’ve still had my shower. Anyway, back to the audience portion of my life. I now have a distinctly different life from the one I had imagined during my “what I want to be” phase. I have an audience. It kind of comes with the territory when you’re a pastoral artist. Every week faces look in my direction and listen for extended periods of time to thoughts that come from my mouth. It’s amazing really. What I mean is that I wouldn’t do it, not to me anyway. I am responsible to inspire, educate, prod, mentally massage, and move people according to study and inspiration from their Creator. I have to admit, it comes much easier when you don’t stop to think about it…kind of like eating squid.
It’s an interesting dynamic, working with an audience. Every communicator worth anything knows that success in communication relies heavily on knowing your audience. You are taking them on a journey and you need to begin with the idea that they might even be interested in going in the first place. It is such a paradox though. You can, if you are observant, totally read when they are with you and when they’re not. At least I keep telling myself that. I say this because in my experience, when they seem to with me the most, they seem to get it the least. Then there are the other days, too numerous to mention, when I am convinced of my total lack of being able to communicate even the simplest of concepts. It is on those days that people inevitably seek me out to thank me for the words, for the encouragement, for the reminder, for the verbal kick in the pants.
I used to think that these were offering of pity, that they could distinctly feel my flailing and wanted to toss some nice words my way so I didn’t give up and turn to AMWAY or Life insurance. I have come to realize that there is not that much pity in the world. My words are being intercepted, reworked and resent to the intended hearer so that good can result. There is another audience before my intended audience. I have an audience of one who insures that what originated from His teaching actually remains His teaching in spite of my attempts to dress it up in humor, story, and object lesson.
I have to admit to being a bit resentful at times. Why do I invest all the time? Why do I try to be clever or humorous or insightful or anything at all for that matter? Why not cut out the middle man (or woman) and just do it Himself? I have no answers for these questions. Perhaps when I die, or turn to AMWAY, I’ll have the opportunity to ask Him. Until then, I’ll continue to assume that He really knows what He is doing because, after all, He is Him and I am not. Maybe I should stick with writing.

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