17 February 2009

Off Key, But in Tune

As a reply to the latest post of one of my favorite blogs:

When I first started my job at the Family History Library, it took me a while to get to know all of the other employees in addition to the missionaries. I would mix up Sherri and Bekah and David and Tom for a while, but Randy was immediately "cemented in my brain," as my mom would say. No one said anything to me about Randy, but I knew he was special. He was reliable with his hours, he always gave the patrons direct answers, he knew the document center in and out, and when I told him something funny, he laughed as if it were the funniest thing in the world. Randy loved people whether they loved him or not, and he never got involved in the nasty, girly gossip that whipped around. I liked to talk to Randy on the train home after work, and ask him (or I guess "tease him" is more fitting here) about his girlfriend. He was such a fun person that I was always happy to see him, even when I was completely overwhelmed with work.

Despite Randy's friendliness, I noticed that he sat alone in the front row during our unit meeting. So I grabbed the hymn book sitting on the chair next to him and joined him. To start the meeting, the person conducting announced an opening hymn, so I opened the book. He held one side, I held other, but that's where our harmony ended. His singing was loud, it was mis-timed, and it was severely out of key. My first reaction was to look around and wonder if anyone else noticed. They calmly continued singing, so I figured they must have been used to his tone-deaf ways, and maybe that was even why he was in the front row alone.

But Randy was Randy and I loved him for who he was, bad singing and all. I continued to sit by him week after week, and his singing made my day during many a "I think I'd better quit or die" week. His singing may have been off key, but it was in tune with another kind of music--that of happiness, of life. He didn't care what others thought, he let himself enjoy the music and sang exultantly, which was often more than I could say.

Good old Randy. I wish I could say I learned to let myself enjoy the music and that I always sing exultantly, but if I did, it wouldn't be true. All I can do is hope to continue learning that along the way.


  1. Thanks for that post michelle. I needed to read it. And I stole your Yeats poem... You are a fountain of good literature. :-)

  2. Your Randy was just like my dad. He not only liked to switch keys, he sang louder than the entire congregation. My sisters and I used to joke that we'd all become singers in an attempt to drown him out. But he taught us all what it means to worship through song.