Ask him to sing.
There aren’t many that do anymore. Most often it’s the dying
that request hymns during his hospice rounds. Bill Colle is a great
comfort to families and those on the verge of paradise. But it's a
shame that his songs are only heard in dimmed rooms, because my
dad is still anointed and still able to fill a church with his rich bass.
A house filled with music and singing is how I remember it.
Album covers stacked in piles and the careful drop of a needle on
vinyl. Musicals, opera, the Bison Glee Club, or The Centurymen’s
latest played regularly.
Every time I hear “Eternal Life,” I think of my dad. Especially
the prayer at the end because he has not only sung this prayer, he
has lived it.
Oh divine master grant
That I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving, that we receive.
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.
He gave up a full ride at Louisiana State University as a drum
major to pursue God’s call at Oklahoma Baptist University in
Okmulgee, Okla. During those four years, he ministered music at
every church that allowed him to sing. He did finally make it to
Louisiana. He completed seminary there and wore the pink
master's stole for musicians while already a husband and father.
Valdosta, Ga., Palatka, Fla., Chamblee, Ga., Alief and LaPorte,
Texas, and finally Titusville, Fla. God called and called and called
and we moved and moved and moved. And there was always
music. The miles traveled all over the southeast marked a
wonderful career behind the pulpit as the chief musician before
retiring at the age of 62.
No matter where we called home, he made sure that we always
knew where we would spend eternity. That there, too, would be
music. That’s why every time I hear “Eternal Life,” which he
recorded on an album of his own, I am reminded of my father’s
great legacy. And I’m puzzled why no one asks him to sing
anymore beyond the four walls of home where my mom sends him
to the piano to sing for her.
Ask him to sing. God gave him a beautiful instrument that at 78
still draws me to a peaceful place, that encourages me to give more
than I receive, and to be a light in the darkness.
Happy Birthday to the Chief Musician in my life. Next time I’m
home, let’s sing.
“From the hymns that my daddy sang, I know I was made to glorify your name.”
Toby Mac ‘Undeniable’