Apparently, after you watch a YouTube video, YouTube automatically plays another, related video based on your computer’s viewing history. So a few days ago I was watching Lauren Daigle’s “You Say.”

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)

When it ended, MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” queued up. For a moment I wondered why YouTube would play this particular song, as I don’t recall ever watching the music video. Both songs are hugely popular crossover Christian hits, so maybe that’s the connection.

“I Can Only Imagine” is a song by the band MercyMe. Written by Bart Millard, “Imagine” was inspired by the death of Millard’s abusive father. It considers what it might be like in Heaven, standing before God. The song has gone double platinum and has sold more digital copies than any other song.

People who have lost a loved one seem to be comforted by the lyrics, shedding “happy tears” while imagining being reunited with a parent, spouse, or even a child. And I get that. What I wouldn’t give to talk to my mom and dad. “Hey, Mom! Dad! I have a new baby girl. Her name is Joyce!”

However, the song has a different meaning for me. First, to be honest, I often take pop songs and change the words ala Weird Al. It’s fun.

For example, the words of one verse of “Imagine” are as follows:

Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you, Jesus
Or in awe of You be still

And so when Joy came out of her bath with lint between her toes, I sang the following for Joy:

Surrounded by bath water
Why are my toes not so clean?
Are you not scrubbing piggies,
Or are ya’ll just mean?

But when I listen to the song when I am alone, I think about and imagine what it will be like to watch Joy grow up.

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

In that first verse, I see myself walking with Joy—to school, church, Starbucks, the library. And I can only imagine how wonderful that will be. I can’t wait to have a conversation with her.

But I worry, too. Will she be healthy and active and smart?

Surrounded by our love
What will your heart feel
Will you dance to music
Or will you be still
Will you stand for me, baby
Or to the ground will you fall
Will you sing hallelujah
Will you be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

I can only imagine.

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