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7.16.2012

THE LAST IMPRESSION



It’s not really about how you start.  It’s more important how you end.
I used to lead worship in several different churches.  Just like about anything else we do in life repeatedly, there are times when you are more in sync, it flows better, it is seamless.  Other times, we have cooking flops, fashion faux pas’, off days, disharmony.  Playing live music is the same. 

When you work with volunteers in a church setting you have varying degrees of talent.  Some of that musical talent is amazing.  And, other times it is mediocre, a sort of I played 4th chair tuba in the 7th grade band talent.   When I would introduce a new song for the worship team to learn, some music was easier to get in a musical cohesive groove with.  Other times, it was like rubbing your stomach, marching and patting your head all at the same – discombobulated and disjointed!
One church in particular was extremely low in the musical talent pool category.  I had to make do with what I had; a 75 year old piano player that could only play hymns, an organist that was willing to try about anything I threw at her, and myself singing and leading from the keyboard.  Many times I felt like the leader of a three ring circus. 

Our human capacity to retain anything is relatively short.  Our attention spans and brains will only retain about half of a 20 minute speech.  If you are an interviewee it is always better to be the last one, leaving the last impression on the interviewer which stays with them.  I’ve started runs that I have wanted to stop at the half-mile mark.  The start was slow, rough and not fluid.  But some of those rough start runs have ended as great runs.  The end of it much better than the start, and not just because it was finally over! 
The news has been filled recently with the Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky boy sex scandal.  It is spilling over and has cast a shadow over the late great Papa Joe Paterno, former head coach who recently died.  He held sway and command over the Penn State Football program for almost 60 years.  In those years the program and his tenure seemed marked by integrity and solidness.  At the end of his life though it was surrounded with shadows, doubt and scandal.  It’s how we end that really matters.  It’s the last taste, impression, legacy we leave behind us.

I used to tell my three-ring circus worship team, “If we end all on the same note that is what matters.  Leave the crowd with a great ending and they will forget if the song had some rough spots!”
First impressions matter, don’t get me wrong.  But, in life ultimately it’s where we end that really matters, smacks success or failure, bitterness or grace, struggle or redemption.  The race is not won at the start line.  Find the right note to end on.  Leave them wishing for more.

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