My Way Off Birthday Wish

I came across this Scripture a couple of days ago: Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV) “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Our Father celebrating over us with singing? Wow! I imagine His voice as deep, melodic and perfectly on pitch…with maybe just a touch of a Missouri accent.

My husband’s voice was deep and most definitely had a Missouri accent…but he could not sing…at all. It wasn’t because he didn’t try or because he didn’t want to sing. He loved singing. Day after day I would hear him practicing in the shower. And day after day I found myself praying while he practiced: praying that the neighbors would not hear; praying that my crystal would not shatter; praying that the shower would only last 5 minutes.

You see, perhaps the saddest “note” to his singing was this: he had no idea whether or not he was on tune. For example, he would be belting out his favorite hymn at church when, not so subtly, the people in the row in front of us would turn and look at him. He would then lean over to me and whisper “Way off?” and I would quietly confirm that he and the song were definitely on different wave lengths. It never hurt his feelings. He just reminded me that God told us to make a joyful noise so he was doing his part by obeying his Father.

But I felt so badly about his “tin ear” that several years ago I announced to the entire family at a birthday party: “In honor of LeRoy and his courageous attempt to sing, we will henceforth sing “Happy Birthday” the LeRoy Hughes way.” He then had the honor of beginning each and every birthday song…off-key. Not to be outdone, we would all join in and give OUR rendition either an octave lower or higher or in an entirely different key. It was terrible and we loved it!

Today is my birthday. There was a beautifully decorated cake with candles, presents and of course the traditional “Happy Birthday.” But I have to admit that in the middle of the song, I found myself wishing for a deep voice with a Missouri accent making a joyful noise and then whispering in my ear “Way off?”  

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