Life is a "s y m p h o r y !" he sang a the top of his lungs. Of course, he meant "symphony". But it was so cute that we didn't look forward to the time it would change.
On Sunday mornings you heard him singing above the whole congregation. His voice didn't exactly blend. The congregation was entertained weekly with his exuberance.
Our little singing brother, Randy, was four. I was twelve. My older brother, Brooks, was fifteen.
Brooks and I were veterans at our "P.K." (Preacher's Kids) position. Randy was so young and innocent that he approached his calling with unabated enthusiasm. It was contagious.
He memorized songs almost instantly, and if he came to a spot where he didn't know the words, he just sang the tune with la, la, la! It was a performance of total abandon at full volume. There was no self-consciousness. He didn't seem to be aware that his volume or style differed from anyone else's. He was singing the way he did at home...with gusto!
The truth? Randy was simply doing what his father asked. When Dad said, "Let's all join together and sing hymn #402, 'This is My Story, This is My Song' ...And sing it like you mean it," Randy did!
Then the time came for one of Dad's memorable sermon illustrations. He looked down into the congregation and said, "Bub, (his nickname for Randy) come up here and help Dad for a minute, okay?"
The excitement showed on Randy's face. He climbed down from the pew and headed for the platform. How Randy loved his Dad! Dad was his hero, his role model, his compadre. And Randy was Dad's shadow. He studied his father's every move.
We noticed that Dad had placed a folding chair on the platform. As Randy reached the stage, he said, "Okay, Bub. Here's what I want you to do."
Eagerly, Randy listened for his instructions.
"When I count to three, I want you to jump over this chair, okay?"
The look on Randy's face was one of disbelief. In an instant, excitement, shock, fear, desire... everything was there at once.
His little mind was racing! How could the father he loved, the father he trusted so implicitly, ask him to do the impossible? ...Plus asking him in front of almost every person in the world he knew, not to mention, some he didn't! Even a four year old understands failure, embarrassment and shame.
Innocently, and almost on the verge of tears, Randy looked up at his father and said, "Daddy, you know I can't do that."
The back of the chair was several inches taller than he was, besides the breadth that needed to be jumped. The assessment of the four year old was, in fact, accurate. He was dealing with reality.
Dad responded unconcerned, "Sure you can, Bub. Now, I'm going to count to three...And when I get to three, you jump, okay?"
A strange combination of confidence and uncertainty registered in the "Okay, Daddy."
"One, two, three," came the count. When Dad reached "three," Randy jumped. At the same instant, Dad put his strong hands under Randy's arms and lifted him over the chair.
A look of relief and excitement broke across Randy's face. And Dad said, "See I told you, you could do it."
The smile grew even bigger, as Randy looked lovingly into his father's eyes and said,
"I didn't do it Daddy. You did it!"
Thank you, Thank you. Thank you.
Thanks for the reminder that when I face the impossible,
I have only to jump into Your loving arms,
and trust You to carry me over.