She’s only four but she knows all about God. She surprised her mom one day, out of the blue, with this cheerful observation, “God is everywhere!” I’m so glad her mom told us. This little ray of sunshine, Sierra, also loves to sing. Rumor has it she sang to the nurses in the delivery room as she high-fived the doctor. Okay, it’s only a rumor.
Her love of singing was in evidence during the recent visit of two aunts and an uncle. My brother, his wife, and our sister whooshed in from Texas and California to experience a New York autumn. Like the best line in that song (I’ll teach it to Sierra one of these days) “It’s autumn in New York, it’s time to love it again.”
Anyway, we were all gathered at the big white – recently painted – house for dinner and the kids were running wild. Aunt Shari and Aunt Elizabeth had the girls well in hand and Sam was all about sports on television. I was cooking and fussing, a surprise to no one. But I did break away after dinner and found a small contingent hanging around in the stairwell. I went to sit with them.
“Echo, echo, echo!” Sierra and her sister, Melodi, were giving it their all. Because when you call “ECHO” into the stairwell it comes right back ‘atcha ringing around your head. My fault. I’ve taught all the grandkids to echo. They love it.
It grew quiet as we sat on that broad step but soon someone suggested a song. It was me. “How about Amazing Grace?” It’s Sierra’s favorite song. Oh, and the Hallelujah Chorus. The first Easter she heard that one she sang it full throttle at home all week to the delight of, and then just tolerable to, her parents.
She shrank back at the suggestion. Maybe because Aunt Shari and Aunt Elizabeth were there. New fans can be intimidating. “I’ll sing with you,” I whispered.
And then there was astonishment that a little child with golden curls could belt out nearly all the words to one of the world’s most beloved hymns. She and God must have a connection because up those words went swirling around our heads. That stairwell, at that moment, was a little piece of Heaven escorted to earth by a child. How sweet the sound and how amazing.
We had moved on to the Hallelujah Chorus before the rest of the family woke up to what was going on. “Hey,” someone called from the living room, “sounds like a concert in there. Come down and sing.”
I’m sorry to report that that did not happen. The small, golden moments of Heaven are fleeting and soon the shyness of children and the weariness of adults returns. Instead we came down for dessert.
The echoes in the stairwell teach us something, though. Beautiful, burning experiences come out of nowhere. All the time. We must look for them and stay on the mountain top for however long it takes to internalize what comes to us.
Right Shari, Tim and Elizabeth?
Photo: Our mountain top – er – stairwell.