We arrived a few hours before the ceremony to be sure everything was in place. I scattered a few bottles of water along the front pew for the bridal party. Our son Jim and his soon-to-be bride Paula, were preparing to tie the knot on what seemed like the hottest July day in the history of the world. We were sweating through our three-piece tuxedos as we jammed ourselves into the sanctuary. The place was packed out as we felt the excitement that only a wedding can bring.
The music began as the guests entered and, after the usual preliminaries, the wedding attendees began to do some singing as a prelude the main event. The hymnals began their leafy noises as the congregation coughed and began to mumble through the first hymn. As Olga and I were in the second row, we couldn’t see what was going on behind us. We were focused on the platform hoping that no one in the wedding party succumbed to the heat, especially Jim.
When the singing got underway, Olga and I looked at each other when we heard this wonderful serenade coming from right behind us. I looked back at the same time as she did. We turned to each other and we could read the same thing in each others’ eyes. Is that Uncle Fred? The Parrot, as his brothers called him, was belting out that hymn like an on-stage baritone. He knew the tune perfectly, pairing the words like he had sung it a thousand time. And, he was not a bit shy about lifting his voice.
I had always known that Uncle Fred loved music but had no idea that he had a great singing voice. Maybe if I had been paying attention, I would have seen it years before.
One of the things that I’ve learned over the years running small businesses, is that sometimes you have to find people’s passion; discover where their real talents lie in order for them to be successful. It’s easy to overlook folks simply because you don’t recognize where their talents lie. Why are they overlooked? Because we’re not paying attention.
Take time to listen and hear what people have to say; or sing. Once you see what people can do, encourage them. They often will surprise you in ways that are totally unexpected.