YOU WOULDN’T WANT to hear me sing. Trust me.
But in the evenings, these days, that’s what I’m doing.
Out loud. With the windows closed. Tight.
Fortunately for my wife, she works night shift.
Only Buddy the Dog has to listen.
Here’s why I’m singing:
I’m trying to record for posterity songs I wrote back in high school and college, before I forget the tunes—as if someone living in posterity would want them.
I wrote the songs while strumming a guitar.
Simple songs in C chord. Hokey, actually.
I can’t believe anyone would want to sing them in church. Or add them to the Book of Psalms.
But even now, all these decades later, as I try to sing them into the microphone on my desk, I sometimes choke up. Like I did as a kid when I sang them for the first time.
Still a kid I guess. In my heart.
Songs were different then, in tune and lyric.
Tunes were more catchy than complex.
Lyrics were more about us than about God.
In one song, I wrote about my faith—why I believed in God when others didn’t.
In another, I vowed that it didn’t matter to me where I went in life, as long as God went with me.
That song is a tough one to get through. I’m the only one of five kids who left the Akron, Ohio area. I moved 800 miles west to attend a seminary in Kansas City. Met my wife. Settled down.
I had no idea that the song I wrote and sang in high school would be the song God asked me to live.
I thought that recording these songs would be a chore. But to my surprise, they are becoming an act of worship.
On the wings of my faith as a kid, I fly away to God.
I should have known.
I think it was pastor/writer Max Lucado who surveyed the route from earth to heaven and then declared the shortest distance: it’s a song.
As I sing these simple tunes with their clichéd lyrics, I’m back on the porch in Akron.
Guitar on my lap.
Pencil and paper on the chair beside me.
Heart full of Someone I am trying to understand.
I thought I was singing to Him.
I didn’t know that Mom would sneak into the living room and listen in.
A generation later, I did that to my high school daughter when she composed songs at the piano. I sat on the staircase behind her, around the bend and out of her sight. Yet well within the range of her heart.
Lyrics and notes might come out sounding hokey, hackneyed, and same ol, same ol to people disconnected from the singer’s heart. But when the heart pours itself out, those connected in love to the person want to receive what the heart has to offer. Eagerly.
I sent some of the songs to a cousin I used to sing with in her Colorado living room, when our families vacationed together. Her dad played the guitar and we all sang.
Wanna know what my cousin said after listening to the songs?
“I love your heart.”
What a sweet and gentle thing to say.
When I sing these songs alone, I wonder if that’s why my heart is sometimes strangely warmed. Because they pull heaven to earth just long enough for my spirit to hear God saying, “I love your heart.”
What a wonderful thought.
I can live with the fact that no one in heaven or earth says:
- “I love your voice.”
- “I love your music.”
- “I love your lyrics.”
Honestly, they are all a little flaky.
It’s enough for me that they love my heart.