Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 24, 2016

for a boy, please (revisited)

Please allow me to share a story which I wrote nearly two years ago.  It would take too long to explain my reason for doing so, but suffice it to say the events of the past week and a half have caused me to remember the story and experience its resonance with where I find myself today.

I found myself alone in the drive-thru at McDonald’s the day my boys and I were set to travel and join my wife for the viewing and funeral of her best friend Lisa.  I’m not sure I was hungry, but felt as though I needed something to curb the dull ache in my stomach.  I decided on a menu choice that triggered a spontaneous, yet sad chuckle.  I was anything but, when I asked the polite drive-thru clerk for a “happy meal.”  As the clerk confirmed my hamburger with no onions and apple slices, she asked me a question that quite unexpectedly buckled my knees.  It was all I could do to answer, “for a boy, please.”  I’m not completely certain why things hit me like they do, but her question hit me square.  “Is this for a boy, or a girl?” she innocently asked.  It was as if the very words of the Spirit that lives inside me were asking the same question of my suffering.

I have an earthly father and mother whom I love deeply.  There was a time in my life when I was completely dependent on them.  As I began to grow, my parents lovingly and intentionally taught and guided me.  They did so with the knowledge that it was best for me to leave them one day, and they equipped me for that day as well as any parent could.  I was given freedoms and responsibilities that ultimately prepared me to establish a life for myself and to love, care, and provide for the wife and two boys God had specifically chosen for me.  This, for me, was the natural progression of growing up as a man — to be responsible and feel responsible.  This was what I was desperately trying to do for every person whom I loved who was hurting in the hours and days after Lisa’s death.  My motives were pure, my intentions were good, but I was acting as if my strength was what was required of me.

In what seemed like an instant, the completely unrelated, yet essential question from the drive-thru attendant penetrated the tough outer layer which had already begun to form around my heart and mind.  The kind of layer we tend to believe is necessary to stand firm against an attack of this magnitude and be a shield and support for those we love.  In what seemed like an instant, the Spirit of God whispered words of comfort and permission; permission to admit, “I am just a boy.”

I’d like to believe I’m a maturing boy, but I am a boy, nonetheless.  My heavenly Father is lovingly and intentionally teaching and guiding me, but it is not for the same purpose as my earthly parents.  Meeting this moment of suffering as a “grown man” and being “worthy” as a husband, father, brother, uncle and friend are not what God expects of me.  I am just a boy.  I am a boy in a world which was not created to experience loss and pain.  I am a boy whose heart can only be hardened by it, if I try to experience and conquer it on my own.  I am a boy who is made strong only in as much as I choose my own weakness and my Father’s strength.  I am a boy who needs the refuge of my Father’s arms and the comfort of Abba’s lap.

In the grief-filled moments which followed my drive-thru exchange, a beautiful peace poured over me.  For all the responsibility I felt, I had been invited into the only thing God expects of me; to answer my suffering with the response, “for a boy, please.”  I must experience this truth for myself and accept the invitation I’m being given to know God more.

In the midst of the “hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” a voice comes over the drive-thru speaker and speaks directly into my suffering.  I wonder if you need to hear that too in the midst of your right now.

Join me.  Say the words.

“For a boy, please.”

“For a girl, please.”



  1. Enjoyed “revisiting” this post. 🙂 And the original November 3, 2014 post, which was a gift on this boy’s birthday! 🙂

    We are all children………..just different sizes, colors and ages. 🙂

    “Let the little children come unto me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 🙂

    For a boy, please.

  2. Thank You,

    A boy,

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