Everyone has embarrassing moments (EMs)--those times in a crowded room when you blurt out something private right when everyone else stops talking, or when you come out of the restroom and realize the back edge of your skirt is tucked up in your underwear, or when you catch your foot on the edge of the step getting on the school bus and land in a heap on the driver's lap. (I've done all of those, by the way.) The question isn't whether or not we have EMs. It's what we should do with them after they happen.
I had another EM yesterday at church. I sing and play piano for our praise band. It's an honor and privilege, and I love it. But for this EM I was right up on the platform holding a microphone while our other pianist, Nate, happened to be at the keyboard playing the song, "Shout to the Lord." Do you know that one? Great song. Our pastor had specifically requested we sing it right before his sermon. You know, to prepare everyone's hearts for the message and all.
The last line in the song is, "Nothing compares to the promise I have in You." As we practiced before church, we repeated that line several times in an overlapping echo. Deanna and I harmonized on the echo after Ben sang it solo. It sounded very pretty and worshipful. I was sure the pastor would be pleased.
When we sang the song during the actual service, though, Nate began to ritard at the end. I thought, "If Deanna and I go ahead and sing the echo, he'll follow us." So we started singing it. But Nate didn't follow. He just played an arpeggio and ended the song. Deanna cut off after "Nothing compares." I got as far as "Nothing compares to the prom." By then, the piano had died away and I was singing alto all alone into a microphone. So I just stopped. Right in the middle of the word.
I walked back to my seat feeling mortified but also trying not to laugh. Nothing compares to the prom? That's an awesome way to set the tone for the sermon. Yessiree, folks. Nothing compares to the prom. If you haven't bought your gown or rented your tux yet, better get on that.
For a few moments I wondered if I'd disappointed the pastor or maybe even God. But then I realized something. I hadn't meant to butcher the ending of the song. Nate hadn't meant to stop too soon. We're human, and sometimes we just mess up. And the truth is, by the end of the service I don't think anyone even remembered it. (Except me. And I save this kind of stuff for writing fodder, so I don't count.)
What do you do with your EMs? If it hurts someone else, I apologize. But if the joke is on me, then I try to just laugh. That puts others at ease and banishes any awkwardness they might feel on my behalf. And if by chance there are any jerks around who want to make me feel bad, they'll have a harder time making fun of someone who's already laughing at herself.
Next time you find yourself having an EM, remember you're not alone. Everyone has them. Laugh it off and think about something pleasant. Like the prom.
After all, nothing compares to the prom.