I Know Exactly What I’m Doing

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Sarah Stegall

“One good laugh will increase the efficiency of your immune system for 24 hours.” Francisco Contreas, M.D.

As a little girl, I loved to sing–loudly. Early on, I developed a list of favorites among the hymns we sang regularly in the Baptist church my family attended, and I was thrilled when they told me I could be heard “all over the building.”

Because I learned to sing before I learned to read, I could sing only what I heard–or thought I heard–from others in the congregation. I found out that sometimes they sang the correct words; but sometimes they made them up.

I took great pride in passing on the hymnals to the next person in the pew because, after all, I knew every hymn “by heart.” I sang the “lyrics” as I knew them with gusto.

It wasn’t until I was about 11 that I was moved to actually read the words in the hymnbooks. To my horror, I discovered one in particular that must have been a tremendous source of entertainment for the whole church. When everyone else was singing, “Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior,” I wailed above them all, “Stanley, Stanley, Stanley knows the promises of God my Savior.”

I reasoned that whoever this Stanley was, he must have been pretty sharp to have a song written about him. Apparently, no one had had the heart to tell me I was off–or perhaps they just couldn’t stop laughing long enough.

When my son Jamie was 4, I took him for a rare trip to the doctor for a checkup. He was very uneasy, and when asked to provide a lab specimen for analysis, he turned to me anxiously and asked, “Do I have to drink that?”
Kayla Kirkland

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