The Words I Don’t Have

I have been told on more than one occasion that I’m the guy that always knows what to say. Though I know better, it does encourage me to use the gifts I’ve been given. But today I have far more questions than answers. How do I say (or write) the words I just don’t have.

Yet another horrific occurrence has taken place this week as a man’s life was snuffed out for fear he would continue to resist. Fear is a dangerous thing on every side of situations like that. Fear makes one man cower and another man bow up. Fear makes the pulse race and the options fade. Fear makes the person that is different from me seem dangerous to me.

Fear lies.

And while it lies to me, it keeps me from hearing the truth that I know in my calm, thoughtful, clear moments.

But it keeps happening. And it keeps happening to the same unique population within our country. Brothers and sisters, made in the image of God, whose lives are cut short due to fear, keep dying in bad situations poorly handled.

And here in my comfortable office in my comfortable community far, far away from those cold big-city streets, fear works on me. It tells me I don’t have anything to say. It tells me I can’t speak about the injustice because I shouldn’t offend my friends and neighbors in law enforcement. It tells me I can’t speak because I don’t spend time with people who look different from me. It tells me I can’t speak because I am the textbook middle aged white man.

But… fear lies.

There are a significant number of young men in this world that call me dad or for whom I have a father-like role. Three of those young men in particular look very different from me. They look a lot more like the man being held down by his neck than the officer kneeling thereon.

These young men are people I have not only an opportunity but a God-given responsibility to speak to about the hard realities of life. These are the ones to whom I must speak… wisely, carefully, deliberately.

These are the ones who so need the words I don’t have. I can’t say why someone who looks like me could hate someone that looks like them. I can’t explain why I will probably always whisper a prayer without words for their protection when they leave my presence just because they will face stuff  that their brothers who were born to me never will.

At least for this moment, I’m the dad in their lives. And no amount of wise words or good teaching or careful warning will prevent someone from fearing them because they look different.

God help me! I want to say something—to them, to you, to anyone who might read these words… I want to express my outrage and my fear and my embarrassment that stuff like this still happens in this place we still somehow call the land of the free.

How do I say the words I don’t have?

Of Potty Training And Theology

I don’t claim to be an expert in the potty training of little boys, but I have been involved in a few rounds of this process.

If you’ve never done so, I need you to… well, let’s just call it imagine.

A young parent has this bouncing, rough-and-tumble little tyke that they really feel like is old enough to begin the process. They start at bath time or when changing clothes and such by just placing the little guy on the throne.

You veterans know what is going to happen here.

The mommy says, “Come on, go potty in the big potty for mommy!”

And, despite evidence to the contrary in many ways, the little dude really does want to make mommy happy. He grunts a little—making a genuine effort, mind you. And then mommy sees the pale yellow stream and is stricken with the horrible realization that there is a trajectory problem here. He’s doing what was asked in a heart of joyful obedience.

But he’s peeing right through the gap under the toilet seat.

Continue reading Of Potty Training And Theology

That’s My Boy

The caboose.

That’s what I used to call my Danny boy, the youngest of the Peercy Posse. He was the one that would bring up the rear, the last car in the train.

Then he came home from his first day of kindergarten and announced that he didn’t want to be called the caboose any more.

He was always having to speak too loudly to try and be heard above the noise of the crowd of siblings. He has been bossed and occasionally bullied and sometimes left behind. But I have watched him learn to navigate the maze of people in our home as the one who would get along with anyone.

He has had some legendary one-liners – especially in his very young days when his vocabulary had outgrown his enunciation. When he flatly assured one of his brothers, “That’s hi-wa-wious. You’re hi-wa-wious” (hilarious), the car-load of people roared with laughter. When he felt his oldest brother’s words were contradictory to his actions, he informed me, “Dad, Mickey’s being a democrat.” (No political commentary intended, just confused the word democrat with hypocrite. Supply your own joke in whatever direction you want to take it.)

All along, despite his hindrance with Bell’s palsy and other frustrations, he has had this drive to be a part of something bigger than himself. He has grown up with a recognition of the need for community—the need to share life with others. He loves being on a team whether it’s a worship team or a soccer team or a leadership team or his biggest team, the band.

For his last end-of-year band banquet last night, he was asked to share some thoughts. He was honest and kind of emotional (which we know as transparency). He was clear-spoken and accurate. He owned old mistakes and celebrated grace (in his band director’s restraint from taking his life when he damaged a tuba at a marching contest while playing hackey sack). And he ended with one of his greatest strengths—pulling his peers together in their traditional “D-town” chant.

And the audience stood to their feet in appreciation of a kid showing his heart and sharing his passion and being real… and expressing what this whole band thing really is.

It was a proud moment for his old man. I was proud that he did without my coaching what I try to do all the time. Though he was so incredibly nervous, he put the fear behind for the greater purpose before him.

That’s my boy.

Sitting on the porch this morning reflecting on that sweet moment, I realize that this feeling of joy in my heart as I see that young man doing what he was made to do, what he was raised to do, I had a moment of recognition.

I have written much about the fact that God has taught me more about Himself through my kids than through any book I could read. And in this moment of reflecting on the pride and joy I felt over my son last night, I see this truth again so very clearly.

When we lean into that purpose for which we were created, it brings delight to the heart of our Creator.

To this end the Psalmist implored:

Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. (Psalm 69.34)

As I sat and watched my son do just part of what he was made to do, my heart was full, saying, “That’s my boy!”

And so our Father, when I do what I was made to do, is filled with joy. No doubt He too whispers, “That’s my boy.”