Grace on display that lit up my life

It was the late ‘70s, and I was a television producer for an Indiana church’s TV ministry.  Our show was called “Reborn,” and it featured stories of changed lives.  Our guests ranged from well-known Hollywood celebrities, to astronauts, to recording artists.  

One fine day, it was our privilege to travel to meet and interview Debby Boone, the famous daughter of Pat Boone, and the recording artist that had a smash international hit with a song called “You Light Up My Life.”  I had watched the Boones on TV all my life, and I truly respected this family.  And, like everyone else in that day, I loved that song.  So when Debby agreed to meet with us, and shoot an entire 30 minute interview, I was pretty excited!

The show’s host and I arrived at the hotel, and I began the process of setting up our lights and camera in a meeting room.  Debby was completely down-to-earth, sincere, and downright friendly.  She was the perfect guest to give her testimony of faith in Jesus.

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The interview seemed to go flawlessly, and after it ended, I turned off the camera at just under 30 minutes of real-time recording.  She had given us an amazing interview with a powerful testimony.  I rewound the video cassette tape, and, just for safe keeping, checked a bit of the footage. 


For the first time in my producing career, I had made not one – but two horrible mistakes. For starters, my input level on her microphone was extremely overdriven.  While the video’s picture was great, the audio was completely distorted – absolutely intolerable.  The second mistake that I had made…well, I hadn’t monitored the audio during recording, even though I had a set of headphones right there with me.  I had made that fatal mistake of assuming that it was right.

I must have turned several shades of green, for Debby asked if everything was OK…I swallowed any semblance of pride, and alerted both Debby and the host that I had botched the recording.  

What happened next completely shocked me. 

I truly wasn’t ready for it.  Debby simply said, “Oh, I’m sorry…let’s do it again!”  It took me a moment to recover.  I would have understood it had she expressed extreme disappointment, and wouldn’t have blamed the show’s host for being upset and angry with me.  But instead of getting what I deserved from both of these individuals, I received grace.  Undeserved kindness.  Enthusiastic attitudes that were aimed at doing the whole interview again, without a single wince at the loss of time and effort.

Without hesitation, I quickly rewound the tape, correctly set up the audio, and within moments, we were off and recording for a second time.

I still remember that act of kindness shown to me so long ago as if it had happened today.  I had experienced the Golden Rule in action. They had shown love and forgiveness to me, even though I was the one that was completely in the wrong.  It was a stunning act of love, and I respected Debby Boone all the more because of her grace.

My prayer is that I will always remember that day.  That I will remember that people make mistakes, and when they do, the outcome is so different when grace rules and reigns.  The air is much lighter, and so are the hearts of those who erred.  It was ironic that the lady with the amazing voice that sang about her life “lighting up” had actual made my heart lighter – simply by reflecting to me the active love of Jesus.

May we remember to show kindness in moments of other’s failure, even with their mistake costs us time, money, or inconvenience.  May we strive to help those that blow it, and show them real kindness instead of anger.  

And, one other thing…that event helps me remember to check the audio levels!  While I was glad for the way things had turned out, that was one mistake that I didn’t want to repeat.

About the Author

Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers.  In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN – 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN – 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader.  As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.

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