Seven years ago, before Jared and I were married, I completely loved going to church.
Seven years ago, before Jared and I were married, I completely loved being within a fifteen foot radius of that man.
I'm still not sure if it was his spiky hair, or his ever-so-slightly crooked teeth, or his Doc Martins that left me tripping over my words, but I was a twenty-one-year-old girl who was completely enamored with her brand-new, one-hundred-and thirty-pound fiance.
He waited tables at a high end restaurant. Hot.
He drove a really clean car with a Yakima ski rack on top. Hotter.
He even knew how to play ninety-seven different DMB songs on his black acoustic guitar. Hottest.
And, as if those factors weren't enough, Jared Lawson came dangerously close to doing anything I asked of him--anything.
"We should be grapes for Halloween," I'd suggest. "Purple or green," he'd ask? "I'll get some tights."
"Jared," I'd venture? "I wish I had some strawberry jello." And before I knew it, my husband-to-be was standing at my kitchen counter, unloading a Shop n' Save bag as he panted the words, "I wasn't sure if you wanted the powdery mix or the little lunch box cups, so I bought you three of each."
What can I say? The guy was a total and complete charmer--every cubic inch of him.
I especially loved Sundays. Jared was fresh off his two-year stint as a full-time missionary, and that kid could quote scripture like some kind of creepy religious Rain Man. On top of that, he seemed to know the harmony to every single song in the hymn book.
Righteous sexiness...it doesn't get any better than that.
One Sunday morning, as Jared was happily harmonizing during the opening hymn, I leaned over and whispered, "Sing as badly as you can, Jared. And maybe do it in a New York accent."
So he did. And it was terrible. And I was having the time of my freakin' life.
When we got to the second verse, Jared lapsed back into his old harmonic ways. "No," I muttered, "keep going!"
So he did, only louder this time.
By the time we reached the end of the song, Jared was belting it out at the top of his lungs--still in a New York accent. Even the oldest and deafest of ladies were working hard to stifle their giggles, because whoa, someone in that room was a horrible singer.
During the middle of the service, I scribbled a message on the back of a program, folded it in half, and slipped it over to Jared. He opened it up, glanced at his instructions, slid the note into the breast pocket of his suit, and nodded as if to say, "Absolutely, Amy. I'll accept your dare."
And he did.
When the organ music piped up, playing the introduction to the closing hymn, Jared Lawson audibly cleared his throat. Then, one full measure before the congregation began to sing, my fiance did. And it was loud, and bold, and still in that same New York accent.
It was too much. Every single member of the congregation--from the incapacitated old men to the Bishop and his counselors were noticeably resisting the sharp urge to break down laughing. I was snickering into the side of my purse, and our good friend Matt had to get up and excuse himself from the scene all together.
Thank goodness for the whole 'gift of forgiveness' thing, because whoa m'goodness, I was knee deep in sin that morning.
Seven years later, the dynamics of our relationship have shifted dramatically. Jared flat out refuses to wear any halloween costume ever--no exceptions. And the late night grocery store trips? I don't even waste my breath asking. But every now and again, if I catch him at the right moment, Jared will happily sing How Great Thou Art, out of tune, in his now-perfected New York accent.
He just watches his volume these days.
I used a writing prompt as a jumping-off point for this post, and as a challenge to myself, I'll use a randomly generated prompt every Monday for the next six weeks.
If you like to write, why don't you try it, too? This week's prompt is: Why even sing? Write about a time when people were singing badly.
C'mon now, you can do it! It could be a drunken concert story, an elementary school choir story, or maybe an historical ladies night out!
If you'd like to participate, leave a link to your story in the comments section of this post. On Friday I'll write a post linking to every one's blog who decided to take a stab at it.
C'mon.....it'll be fun!