Wendy and I had a fight last week and it was my fault. It was at first a small fight, but then I decided to drag it on forever long. I promised myself that—no matter what—I’d stay mad the rest of my life. Wendy tried a million ways to get us past it (I don’t know how she stayed patient through that), but I bravely held my ground.
It was a Saturday night, and I went to bed with a firm goal of staying mad. When I woke up the next morning, I was accidentally and momentarily not mad. But then I quickly reminded myself about the important commitment I had made, and I was mad again in no time.
Fortunately for me, it’s pretty easy to stay mad on Sunday morning because it’s horrible anyway. We are always tired and can never find anything and are always running late for church. Plus it’s always on Sunday morning that
the dog manages to take a dump on the living room carpet or rip up someone’s new shoes.
After all those normal struggles, We finally assembled ourselves, drove to church, walked in a few minutes late, and set course for an open pew.
But then I lost my battle. The congregation was singing Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel, which is this exciting and upbeat hymn and has those awesome baseline echoes that make so many Mormon hymns so very fun to sing.
We sat down partway through the first verse. By the end of the second verse, I was getting the notes and words mostly right and had found my place in the hymnal. And by the middle of the third verse, Wendy and I weren’t fighting any more.
I turned to her and mouthed, “I’m sorry and I love you.” Then we shuffled the kids around so we could sit next to each other. And then we cuddled and smooched through the rest of the service like college sweethearts. We were probably really nauseating to the family behind us.
I’m so grateful for music in my life and for the constant impact it has on me. And I’m especially grateful for the hymns of my church. When I was just 14, I was promised in a blessing that singing these hymns together with my wife and children would play a crucial part in welding us together into an unbreakable unit. This has been so true in my life.
Anyone who sits near me at church or spends time with me at work knows that my enthusiasm for singing far surpasses my ability. I get the notes wrong a
lot of the time and I seem to get the words mixed up almost all of the time. Lots of times I can’t quite get as high or as low or as flat or as sharp as I’m supposed to. And I can’t hold a note out long enough at all.
But I am constantly comforted with the knowledge that my singing is not a performance. It’s a way for me to worship and to connect with those around me. It’s like a really fun way of praying. And anyway, no matter how bad I botch it, I know that “Jesus, listening, can hear the songs I cannot sing”.