An Audience of Two

An Audience of Two

Last month, something truly terrible happened in our dishwasher. It took us the better part of a weekend to strip every itty bit of the thing apart and clean out the reams of muck and mold which had bloomed in its crevices. I think it was the grossest thing I’ve ever done, and I say that as a woman who has given birth three times the old-fashioned way.

The hours of muck-scrubbing afforded me some time to think, and by Hour Three I was composing a lengthy and truly awesome blog post in my head. By Hour Four, I was thinking about a friend I’d spoken with at church that morning, and had prayed for her as I stood scrubbing over my sink: a meditation in how God undoes us to get at the muck. By Hour Five we were nearly done, but the children were starving and so there was no time to blog: the rest of the night was all mommy-business.

I woke up at 5am the next morning, ready to download all my bloggity thoughts to send to y’all, but was stilled by the thought of my friend, who had been in my heart and prayers the day before. I opened my email folder instead of wordpress, and felt compelled to write the whole horrible story of the dishwasher down for her, just her.

Soon, my children were awake and the day had begun and I confess I felt a little irked that I had not written anything for this little blog space. But I had written to a friend – and, for some reason, that felt really right.

A few hours later I got a message from her: effusive with thanks. And minutes later, I saw her update on Facebook at the thrill of receiving an email just for her: not a group text, not a tagged name in a joint status. But just for her. And how that blessed her.

And to think: I nearly wrote a post for everyone, and missed the opportunity to love someone.

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“Do it for an audience of one.”

I’ve heard it time and time again: a reminder not to do things just to please people, but to do things knowing that God sees, and that it is His opinion which matters most. Write for an audience of one. Work for an audience of one. Dance for an audience of one. “When I run, I feel His pleasure,” said Eric Liddle. He ran for an audience of One.

But I wonder, as I think about my yucky dishwasher and my beloved friend, whether maybe in this day of social media and public relationships, whether there is not also some wisdom for us to do things for an audience of two. For God, yes. But also with an eye towards the one person I’m in that moment with right then.

Perhaps, rather than post a picture of a meal on instagram, there are times I should savor it for an audience of two: God, and my husband.

Perhaps, rather than share my kids’ hilarious moments on Facebook, there are times I should respond to that moment for an audience of two: God, and the look on my child’s face.

Perhaps, rather than posting an article and tagging a friend I think will like it, I should share my thoughts with an audience of two and write an old-fashioned latter.

And perhaps, rather than reserving my best parenting voice for the times when other parents are within earshot at the park, I should speak for an audience of two; focusing not on how others are thinking I’m doing as a Mom – but on the audience of two that really count in that moment.

*****

Just a thought.

Perhaps there’s something you too need to do for an audience of two today.

 

Photo Credit: Thomas Anderson/Flower in The Dishwasher 1 (Flickr Creative Commons) / edited by Bronwyn Lea

8 thoughts on “An Audience of Two

  1. I had the privilege for a few years of sitting in the congregation of a pastor whose sermon always packed a tremendous punch for me and apparently for most others. At length, I asked him how he did it. “I seek God for myself and preach to my own need,” he answered.

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  3. Sounds like what Christ says about how our treatment of others is (not just reflects) our treatment of him. So even if the audience of “one” is your child or friend, there’s an implicit audience of more than one. Our perception of audience can be limited by our perspective so easily!

  4. The audience of two idea is biblical, Bron: Love God and Love Others. We do it all for him as we do our serving for others. Yet another mystery of the faith!

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