Confession: I forgot the words to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel recently. It was awkward.
That Awkward Moment
We try to make a habit in Advent of a more expanded evening prayer time at home with reading scripture and singing a hymn. Last Advent we were trying to rock out to the timeless and familiar O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I was feeling especially confident considering we had just sang it at mass earlier in the week. But then it happened. Spontaneously I couldn’t remember the next line.
What was it? Something like, "and the raptor captured Issssraeeel"
Jacinta was left with a look of disbelief as Daddy then even mommy started laughing and dropping our heads in shame. Epic fail.
My friend Lance Rosen and I joke about getting a hashtag trending called #humbled! How often we gloat, but how little we own up to our ridiculousness and failures. We need to be honest, vulnerable, and allow God to humble us. You could say I got #humbled that night. I was so confident I knew the lyrics, but without a big choir to singalong to I failed miserably.
Do I take the familiar for granted?
I wondered how easy I take the familiar for granted (Familiar = Family). Isn’t that tragic? The majority of my time and effort should reflect my values and priorities. However I often fail at remembering basic details about my family members or friends, I can’t properly list all 12 Apostles or ten commandments, and I’ve even messed up praying the Hail Mary! So, either I’m spending time on things that aren’t important, or I’m getting lazy in my attention. Either reason is problematic and tricky to realize the need for change.
You Think You Know Me
An unopened bible on my side table doesn’t bring me closer to Christ. That rosary or chotki bracelet on my wrist doesn’t mean I pray a lot. Being around young people doesn’t mean I care a lot. Let’s not fool ourselves. Besides being the tag line to a former wrestler’s theme song, I think “you think you know me” might be said or thought by a lot of young people.
Often what we are familiar with is like our blind spots. It is hard to improve your marriage, church, ministry, or business when you don’t take intentional steps to examine. Sometimes that means pulling back, asking questions, and bringing others in. I think we need to strategically create ways to shock or snap our awareness so we can see where our effort and attention truly lie. I think we need to create awkward moments. It could be a peer evaluation, direct youth feedback after an event, or a spiritual director!
An example of creating awkward for me was a short presentation after mass. I asked all the young adults in the congregation to stand. I asked everyone else to silently think if they could name 10 young adults in the parish. I then pointed out that there was donuts and coffee after mass. Sure it was a bit of catholic guilt gone wild … but we can’t be strangers in a family! I never saw so many young adults engaged in conversation with families. That awkward moment brought renewed awareness, effort, and growth.
Blessed are the Awkward: 5 Point Plan To Holiness
1. No one escapes awkward, so stop trying. 2. Let awkward have its moment and speak where we need to improve. 3. Be #humbled, accept it, share it. 4. Pray for grace to improve. Ex. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy upon me a sinner." 5. Work Hard. Repeat.
Why not make me feel better and share a moment where you were #humbled! So here’s to being awkward!