The brutal Virginia heat gave us a respite last week. Instead of the crushing upper 90s we’ve had the majority of the summer, the thermometer tickled the low-80s, and we celebrated by opening the windows and venturing outside.
The families in our neighborhood had the same idea, so we found ourselves standing in the cul de sac most evenings, the adults chatting while the kids kicked balls and rode their bikes in circles.
“I have a new song!” my 4-year-old neighbor Chloe announced to the grown ups.
“Chloe has been writing a lot of new songs lately,” her mom, Emily, explained. “She’s been putting on a lot of concerts at the dinner table.”
At first, Chloe was reluctant to begin because she insisted that EVERYONE on the cul de sac should stop what they were doing and listen. But despite her commands, the boys continued to play baseball.
When it became clear the entire street wouldn’t be attending her concert, Chloe began. The tune reminded me of that scene in Elf where Will Ferrell is ad-libbing a song for his dad. “It’s raining,” Chloe began. “Its raining hard, but then it’s soft. It’s hard and soft togetherrrrrrr.”
She continued with her observational lyrics and avant garde melody, commenting on the kids playing with their toys.
Chloe faltered a bit when she ran out of things to describe, and I thought that might be the end, but then, she dropped the chorus like a bomb.
“And…and…and…Jesus is coming back! Jesus is coming ba-a-a-ck. He’s coming, he’s coming he’s co-o-o-o-ming baaaaaaack!”
WOAH, CHLOE! Talk about a right turn! It’s like thinking you’re getting treated to breakfast and it turns out to be a timeshare pitch.
The parents erupted into laughter. “Surprise content there, Chloe,” Emily said.
“I thought this was a song about rain and toys, but I see now they’re a metaphor,” Melinda said.
Chloe continued for another few verses, which if I’m being honest were a little contrived and lackluster. But right before she’d run out of steam, she’d come back to the hook, belting it with true conviction. “Jesus is coming back! Jesus is coming ba-a-a-ck.” When she finished the grownups broke into applause.
“We gotta get this girl on American Idol,” I said. “She’s going to KILL on the contemporary Christian circuit!”
My 2-year-old son Robert must’ve been impressed, because for the rest of the night, he’d spontaneously break into song. “Jesus is coming back!” he sang while he got into his PJs.
Even for a toddler, it seems there’s nothing like a little holy spirit to boost your mood on a beautiful summer evening.