I SPENT MY EVENINGS during the second half of last week recording and mixing a song for my wife.
I can’t sing particularly well, even in the shower. But I did this little project for her anyhow.
It wasn’t my idea. Someone somehow popped it into my head when I started the prep work on last Sunday’s Bible study session about the wise men coming to visit Jesus.
I pretty quickly decided that I would take the life application in the direction of “honor.” How the wise men honored Jesus. And how we honor people today…how we show them that they are valuable to us, important to us, cherished by us.
Of course, the wise men honored Jesus by bringing expensive gifts, by bowing before him, and by making that long and dangerous trip probably from somewhere in what is now Iraq or Iran. That’s a long walk about 1,000 miles (1,600 km), about the distance from Washington D.C. to Kansas City.
How out of that came the idea of singing to my wife the chorus of “You Are My Sunshine,” God knows. I blame him.
The idea just popped into my head. I haven’t done anything like that for her. I have played around with a few songs for myself and my grandkids, but I’m terrible at it.
Still, I recorded the song. I harmonized with myself. And I tweaked the pitch and cranked up the reverb and did everything else I could think of to mask my true sound.
I ended up singing the chorus three times, three different ways. For the second chorus, I added some du-wops as accompaniment. The third version was full-throated, with my best attempt at a bass track, though I’m a tenor. I even added some strings from an Oriental instrument on the Garage Band app.
I played it for my daughter because I was thinking of playing the song in class, to show them how I decided to honor my wife, who was out of town last week. (That added extra meaning to the line in the chorus “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” As in “Please come home, I’m tired of pizza. Take me out for Mexican.”)
I was honored by my daughter’s response. “Not bad. But don’t send it in an email or play it for the class.”
The honor was on her face. It was the strained look of someone who loved me and wanted to protect me without hurting my feelings.
“It’s awkward,” she said.
It was awkward for her, and I’m pretty sure she was thinking it would be awkward for the Bible study group.
I think it’s pretty common for folks to think that “awkward” is bad.
I do “awkward” all the time. Every day. I just open my mouth and “awkward” comes out.
Sometimes it’s embarrassing. Sometimes it’s heartwarming because it’s real…like the concerned look on my daughter’s face.
I played the song for the group on Sunday.
Maybe because it lasted only 90 seconds.
The difference in response may be a generational thing. Perhaps older folks have grown to appreciate awkwardness, at least when it’s well-intentioned and heartfelt.
I played the song for the class because I wanted them to open their heads to fresh ideas about how to express to someone else the high value they place on them.
The wise men risked their lives to travel across the bandit-infested deserts to find Jesus.
I didn’t risk much more than hitting the wrong notes, but there’s value to the time invested and the message of the words and the intent of the heart.
No, you can’t hear the song. I do “awkward,” not “crazy.”
Sing your own song.
Or do something else for someone in your life who needs to know they are important to you.
How did my wife react to the song?
I sent her three of the four versions I created. She said it was nice getting a song each day.
I played her the fourth version when she got home. She liked version three best. No du-wops in that one.
Free books for Christmas
I give away free books to subscribers nearly every week. I’ve got more than a dozen unclaimed books left this year.
I’m giving them away to any of my blog or newsletter subscribers in the States who haven’t gotten a free book from me. (International postage costs are often higher than the price of the book.)
If you fit that category, send me a note saying you’d like a book. I’ll email you a list to pick from, and I’ll give the books away until I run out.
Early Merry Christmas.