Oblivious the Owl stood at the lectern reading. It was the first Sunday of Advent, and his reading preceded the lighting of the first candle in the Advent wreath. So focused was he on his reading that he was totally unaware of the drama unfolding behind him.
Flummoxed the Flamingo, whose job it was to actually light the first candle, stood behind Oblivion, holding the brass candle-lighter in her beak. Balancing on one foot, she raised her other long pink leg to test the candlelighter by hooking one toe in the trigger. Click. Click. Nothing happened. Flummoxed was, as her name suggests, flustered and perplexed. Click. Click. She tried again.
Oblivious kept on reading.
In the front row, Kackle the Kookaburra began to laugh. It started as just a smile, then a giggle, then a full-on, if quiet, laugh. Every click of the torch, brought another snort or chortle from Kackle.
Oblivious kept on reading.
Flummoxed kept on clicking, more frantically now than before, because she knew that her moment in the spotlight was approaching.
Hero the Heron sat on the dais not far from Flummoxed. He calmed craned his long neck to see what Flummoxed was doing. Click. Click. He leaned toward her and whispered something in her ear. She dropped the candle-lighter gently to the floor and Hero picked it up. Click. Click. His attempts were also unsuccessful, but he seemed nonplussed.
Oblivious kept on reading, but he was drawing to a close.
Kackle kept on laughing, though quietly, because, after all, they were in church.
“And so we light this first candle, and name it Hope,” Oblivious read with vigor in his voice. This was the signal for Flummoxed to light the candle.
But Flummoxed didn’t move. Instead, Hero stood, tall and majestic, calm and serene. He walked toward the candle, but then walked right past it to where Melody the Meadowlark sat at the organ. “Play,” he said quietly to her, and continued walking past her to the back of the sanctuary.
Melody began to play.
Oblivious took a seat.
Flummoxed just sat there.
Kackle continued to giggle.
Grandma Goose, also in the front row, but perhaps not quite aware of what was happening, what with her old age and failing eyes, began to hiss.
“Light the candle,” she hissed in a stage whisper. When no one moved to do so, she hissed it again, louder. “Light the candle! Light the candle!”
Flummoxed dropped her eyes uncomfortably.
“Light the candle! Light the candle!”
Oblivious ignored her, or perhaps he didn’t hear.
Hero returned, quiet and confident.
With a functioning torch in his beak, he passed the instrument to Flummoxed, who clicked it to life and lit the candle.
Melody began playing the hymn that was to follow the candle-lighting ceremony, and the rest of the service went on without a glitch.
Who are you in this story?
When glitches occur, are you Oblivious to them? This is not a bad thing. Everything doesn’t need to grind to a halt because of a little glitch.
Are you Flummoxed? Do they agitate you so much that no problem-solving occurs?
Do you Kackle, because something about it strike you funny?
Do you fill the gap with a Melody, bridging while someone else takes the necessary measures to solve the problem? What a help this can be!
Do you offer advice before you fully understand the problem, like a Grandma with poor eyesight?
Or, are you the Hero, seeing the need and taking measures to fix it?
Unfortunately, this Sunday, I only laughed.