Edited repost from November 2010. I’m fascinated by the events in a person’s life that helps determine who a person is. The lumps along the path of life are common to all of us. I heard early and often, “Big boys don’t cry”. Many of us learned to silently process the pain that eventually healed into scars that we carry forever.
Up until I was in about 2nd or 3rd grade I had a speech impediment. Before the age of “Political Correctness,” I was fair game. Even adults back in those days made fun of me. Not fun for the kid who couldn’t pronounce “R’s.”
I remember my uncle Buck driving his truck into the middle of our front yard in the middle of the night. I remember him pounding on our front door calling for my dad. I heard him telling my dad to get his boots so they could go get those “Sons-a-_itches.” My dad calmly told him, “Buck, you know I don’t do that anymore.”
I was the only one of my siblings who wasn’t tall enough to see over the edge of the casket at my grandma’s funeral. My dad didn’t shed a tear. My uncle Galen, the youngest of the nine, cried like what was forbidden. My uncle Buck didn’t cry either. I was learning the lessons of life without shedding a tear, just like my hero’s.
I’ve pondered the events and the ultimate impact they might have on my life. These few incidents are just a thimble of water in the swimming pool of life, but for the few and total here’s what I’ve got so far.
I didn’t let my speech impediment damper my love of Halloween. Sometimes even while laughing at the way I said “Trick or Treat,” I scored double the candy. That speech impediment landed me in Special Ed class with the kids that rode the short bus. Partially due to speech therapy, I read at a college level while in grade school.
My dad was the only person in the world to have some control over my uncle Buck. I learned of my dad’s quiet strength. I learned of his self-control, sacrifice, and love for his family. I watched it in times of testing. He never failed.
I think God spared me the confrontation with death at an early age. I strained on my tippy-toes trying to catch a glimpse over the edge of my grandma’s casket, but my dad nudged me along gently.
I wondered most of my life if I would be strong like my dad was in public. I wondered if I’d scream with nightmares in the middle of the night like he did after he lost his mom. I’m certain that everyone deals with death one way or the other. I just wasn’t sure how I would.
God used all the events in my life to bring me to a place of understanding. His will is perfect and everything that happens in our lives has a purpose.
Just before God took my dad home, I told him how proud I was to be his son. I shared with him how honored God and his family were by “The good race he had run.” My dad cried… so did I.
I think maybe big boys don’t cry from physical pain. At my dad’s funeral, I cried again… not caring who thought what…