Last night I did something I rarely do – I went to bed in tears with a bar of chocolate. Now I’m normally fairly resilient, I think – though others might disagree. The sequence of events that led to this were is some ways unconnected with our current crisis, though no doubt my sensitivity to the pain of others had prepared the ground, I’d had a busy week with some external responsibilities I feel ill prepared for, and I would not have been attempting the task which reduced me to this state were it not for current circumstances.
Let me explain. As part of our response to not being able to meet together as church, we are sending out resources with links to YouTube, including short talks. Now I am no technophobe, but it is not my area of expertise, and I don’t intend it to be. We all need to know our gifts, and this is not mine. I’m glad there are others who can do these things. In addition, I look awful on a flat screen. Please, if you are reading this, don’t rush to reassure me. I don’t mind, it is just the way some faces are and I need the animation of 3D.
Talk written, undaunted I set out to make the recording. Now, I can’t edit videos. I’ve looked at some sites, but to learn to do it requires time I have not had yet. So I have to do it all in one take. That means what is uploaded does not match the ‘script’ we send out, but as long as it captures the heart of it, I don’t think that matters too much. I think last time (the first) it took about 35 takes, but in all honesty I was pretty pleased I’d managed to do it at all.
So, about 2pm yesterday I set out to do the same. About 15 false starts, but that was OK. However, for some reason, I just could not get the flow. Friday-itis, biorhythms, who knows. Several times I got close to the end and had total brain freeze. I could not have told you what day it was never mind what I was doing or saying. I took a walk round the garden and started again. Finally, somewhere about 4pm, I got one I could live with. Great. Time to upload. All was finally going well. Until it was time to do the thumbnail – the picture people see before they decide whether to listen. You can choose a bit of the video – no way I want to do that. Still shots are worse than moving for my unphotogenic face. No problem, here’s one I prepared earlier with the title on. I just click and – nothing happens. YouTube refuses to let me upload it. Why? It is a mystery. I ring someone who knows about these things. They too are mystified. Sometimes YouTube plays up, maybe traffic on it. That bit can be edited later. Phew. I hang up the phone. Let’s finish the process…
Hold on. Something has happened. The video seems to have disappeared now. From everywhere. YouTube, PC, recycle box. It has been spirited away by some malign unseen force that lurks just waiting to trip up the unwary. No, I don’t mean something demonic, by the way. Just whatever part of a PC loves to trip up the inept.
By now it is about 5pm. Ah well. I can do this. I really can. I share it via Facebook with a few trusted friends just for the catharsis. Deep breath. I do another one. It is not as good, but never mind. By 7pm I am ready to upload and reward myself with Great British Menu on TV. Home straight. I go to play it just to check. There is sound distortion on it. My pc was doing that last week and it cured itself. Now it has come back. Maybe it is a fluke. So I start again. But wait, the light is fading. And anyway the distortion is still there. Maybe as well as YouTube epic fail my PC is going to meltdown as well. Then what would I do?
Now, this morning I can be rational and at least track some of what was going on. I was tired, feeling out of my comfort zone, frustrated at my limited knowledge. I felt like a small child in an adult world where everyone else understands what is going on apart from me. I did not want, in the words of the book of Daniel, to be ‘weighed in the balance and found wanting’. Pride? Probably. Fear of failure? Maybe.
So, I went to bed with tears and chocolate. One companion better than the other, it was good chocolate at least. And no doubt, as is always the case, the tears were not just for that day with its frustrations but so many other things where I have had to be brave. Tomorrow is another day.
Which it was. Borrowed hubby’s computer, overcame the difficulty of different mouse, different all sorts of things. Second take. Few issues with the thumbnail being too big for YouTube to accept, but in the end, job done.
Except it is not good. Not good at all. I won’t name the flaws because you can see them anyway if you watch, and if you don’t either watch or notice I won’t point them out. But in the end it is a choice. Admit defeat, or just accept that my offering is very second rate.
Now please don’t rush to reassure me. You see that is not my point at all. It is OK. Because I don’t have to be screen perfect, or a techy whizz. Of course I want to do the best by God, the church, my colleagues, the church family. But today, this week, this is all I can manage. I’m never going to be very good at it though no doubt I can get better. This inadequate offering is poured out at the feet of Jesus, yes with tears. For him it is always good enough. For him neither we nor anything we bring is ever second best.