Working with the Alpha program at church reminds me again how valuable everyone is. It is a huge undertaking, with many moving parts and many needs. We should notice and thank the people who step up and meet those needs. It is easy to see and appreciate good leaders. They are the face of the effort. They are easy to spot. They contribute unique and wonderful skills. They orchestrate the whole project with an artistry that merits gratitude. But there are other people who are a bit harder to see who also merit gratitude.
For instance, I have two tall male friends that hang decorations for our Alpha evenings. Part of my décor is colorful signs hanging from the ceiling, proclaiming thought-provoking quotations. There is no way that I could hang those signs myself without a lot of effort and possible bodily harm. My friends are comfortable with ladders. They are both engineer types. They skillfully figure out how to do this job efficiently and gracefully. They actually seem to enjoy the process of deciding where and how to place the signs. These tall guys do a lot of other things for me, including moving furniture and setting tables, also.
There are also people who could not commit to providing a whole dinner for an Alpha evening, but contribute a bit of this and a bit of that so the person cooking the meal can concentrate on just the entrée and maybe one side dish. Everybody sees the cook du jour dishing up the entrée, but not everybody sees the person who brought the salad or made sure there was plenty of bread and butter.
There are so many unsung people who help with clean-up ever week. These angels stay out of the spotlight washing dishes, putting leftovers away, and cleaning countertops. They may not have glass slippers, but they are Cinderellas, for sure.
Young adults volunteer to staff the nursery room so that parents can attend the sessions. These teen angels regularly ride herd on several small, squirmy bundles of kinetic energy during the two hours the Alpha course meets. They feed them dinner and prevent all manner of disasters. So far, the same number of children who go into the nursery have left in one piece every week. I think that is quite an achievement, but I am guessing that most of the Alpha participants don’t even realize they are there. Out of sight, out of mind.
My friends Laura and Kari help with any number of smaller tasks, week after week. One major contribution has been their skill and patience with folding. It may not sound like a talent, but I have to tell you that their penchant for folding laundry has helped me kept what little sanity I have. I don’t mind washing and drying table linens, but those linens are supposed to be folded in a strange and wondrous way that is completely beyond me. Laura and Kari patiently lay them out and follow the established protocol so that they end up neatly hanging in the linen closet.
Other people pray for us. They quietly beseech God to surround us with His grace and He always does. I know that cadre of people generating powerful prayer is helping to fuel our efforts.
It strikes me that there are unsung providing the backbeat, not just in my Alpha program, but in a good many life experiences. It seems to me that almost every undertaking is supported by an army of people who are quietly contributing without anyone really noticing. In fact, their job is often to make sure no one notices. After all, if the tablecloths are clean and tidy, no one pays attention. If they are a mass of wrinkles covered in stains, everyone notices…. And that isn’t a good thing.
I’m going to make an effort to seek out the unsung and sing their beautiful melody to the whole world. It may be quietly and to one or two people at a time, because sometimes the unsung truly don’t like a fuss or a lot of attention. But I’m going to make sure their music is heard…. because, even if a person doesn’t like a fuss, everyone needs to know he or she is valuable. If you agree, I hope you will find ways to spread the music of the unsung people in your life and activities.
I also suggest that we might consider joining the unsung choir ourselves sometimes. I’ve found that there is always a myriad of tasks that need to be done in any project… often tasks that no one ever even anticipates. Being able to complete these tasks may not seem to be much of a talent or God-given gift…. Until you are the one on the receiving end. Then, it is clear that, as quiet as those unsung musicians are, they are extremely talented and I am gifted when they show up for the concert!
Who are the unsung in your life? Please leave a comment to share their music! In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a thankful day!