I’m Still the Boy

stickfigure_boy_footbal.JPGI looked in the mirror a moment ago.  I saw a guy.  Father of kids in their early twenties.  I’m married and enjoying it.  Yet, the mirror is deceiving.  I’m still the boy.

I’m still the boy who used to climb the cottonwood tree in front of our house on Alhambra street, look into the sky just before a storm, and wonder if Jesus was coming soon.

I’m still the boy who winced and felt shame at a very early age after telling a significant adult in my life that I liked a girl in my class.  I remember hearing him laugh and making fun of this.  While I would tell myself in later years that such an incident meant nothing, the moment nevertheless would be etched into my memory.

I’m still the boy who used to deliver the Dallas Morning News on my bike at 4:30 AM in my neighborhood.  I can remember sitting on the street corner at Hilburn and Tillman folding newspapers under a street light.  (Was this before crime?)

I’m still the boy who felt flush with embarrassment after I bought the wrong equipment for pee-wee football.  To this day, I can recall feeling foolish as the volunteer coach explained to me that this probably wouldn’t work.

I’m still the boy who put "doodlebugs" in my pockets and walked up and down the alleys near our house looking for great finds in other people’s trash.

I’m still the boy who played football and baseball in the "field" just behind our house with lots of neighborhood kids.  How many summers did I spend running those bases?  How many winters were spent pretending to be Dallas Cowboys players in game after game on this field?  Games lasted into the evening until one of us heard a mother call out, "Dinner’s ready!" 

I’m still the boy who used to wear cut-off shorts, a white tee shirt, and ride my bike all over Pleasant Grove (our community in the Dallas area).  How many times did I go to the model car and plane store, next door to the post office, and stare at the expensive models?

I’m still the boy who joined the Boy Scouts and learned how to camp, start a fire, and hike, as well as so many other skills that I would use for many, many years.

I’m still the boy who loved to go to my grandparents’ house each Christmas.  I remember riding in my grandpa’s truck on a snowy Christmas day as he took me to the woods to walk around in the snow and look at deer tracks.  To this day, I can recall the crunching sound that his boots made as we walked through the woods.

I’m still the boy who felt such delight when I received a few words of encouragement from Mrs. Cummings, my seventh grade social studies teacher.

I’m still the boy who was baptized at age ten after thinking and praying a lot about Jesus.  I remember reading that burgundy covered Bible, red-letter edition, that my father brought home from Grove Hill Cemetery where he worked.

I’m still the boy God worked through in numerous ways during those early years.  Looking back, I realize that he worked through many people to shape and form me.  At the time, I had no idea that he was at work through so many people and in so many situations. 

A few minutes ago, I looked in the mirror.  I don’t look like a boy anymore.  But inside I know the truth.  Inside, I’m still the boy.

Do you relate to this?  Do you ever feel as if you are still the boy or still the girl?

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19 thoughts on “I’m Still the Boy

  1. Shortly before my mother died at the age of almost 82, I was looking at a picture of her when she was in her early 20s (she was very pretty) and asked if she ever felt that age any longer. She told me in her mind she’s always been in her early twenties, it was just her body that grew older on her. As I age, I am learning what she meant.

  2. Honestly, I could definitely write the same essay from my perspective! Writing all your thoughts down is a great idea, which I might do for myself. I’m 18 in my mind very often. God is there at whatever age I find myself in my emotions and my spirit. All our life’s experiences are what make us who we are! God is so loving and good!

  3. Hey Jim,I think you’ve once again given voice to many people’s thoughts, and certainly to mine. And while growing up requires us to put off childish ways (1 Cor 13:11), I think it would do many of us a lot of good if we nurtured the child in us a little more.“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little
    children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
    " (Matt 18:3)Peace,Rob

  4. Wow!  What a beautiful set of musings you have presented, Jim.  My youngest son recently celebrated his 25th birthday.  And, as I was pondering this significant time in his life, I thought, you know, that can’t possibly be right because I don’t feel any older than that myself! 

  5. Many say I still act like a boy.  I just refuse to grow up.  Who made that rule?  Life is much more fun as a boy isn’t it?  Spose that is why Jesus love kids so much?  Do you ever wonder what it was about Jesus that made him so desired by the children?  

  6. Gregg–How interesting about your mother.  I suspect that a lot of people would say the same.  Sometimes when looking at those old pictures, it is interesting to think about what life might have been like. Karin– It is amazing what is remembered and what is forgotten  

  7. Rob– Glad that this post put words and a voice to some of your own thoughts. Connie– Thank very much.  Kind of strange when the person in the mirror doesn’t seem real and the child in the room is the age in which we see ourselves. Tucker– Good question.  I suspect that Jesus seemed to be very, very comfortable with who he was and with anyone who he was with.  I would loved to have seen this!

  8. Jamie!!!Thanks for your note.  I wish I could have taken you back to those years. Thanks for your invitation to join you at 21! 🙂 

  9. Even though I’m still in my twenties, I am often caught off-guard by this.  When I work with my preschoolers, it still amazes me that I am the adult and not the child.

  10. Boy, do I relate! Today, I thought about the first time I heard someone call me "sir." Felt strange. Still does.I read your post eagerly. Reading you talk about your past helps me unearth my own (especially since we shared the same stomping grounds).

  11. Frank,I remember an occasion when I was on the campus of a college.  I went into the campus bookstore to buy something.  I waited in line and finally approached the checkout.  The checker asked, "Excuse me sir, do you have your faculty card?"  It was startling.I have found that attempting to unearth my past has helped me in some ways with the present.  Probably as important for me is the realization that my children know none of this unless I tell it.  Thanks…

  12. Jim,
    Thanks for the memories. Kinda cool that we shared so many things in common. Did you throw papers for Mr. Conner?  I went to the old building not long ago and it shrunk. That is the day I knew the little boy was still in me. My remembrances of Lake June Road was that the building was huge. To see everything from a little boys eyes is a blessing.
    Peace, Brother.
    Gary

  13. Gary,We probably sharred a lot of things in common! I can’t imagine what it would be like to go to that old building again.  Like you, it seemed to me to be huge at the time.  Much of my life is all over that building.(Didn’t work for Don Conner.  I think my manager’s name was Charlie Leggett.  Seems like Don’s area what somewhere else.  Yet, I probably would not have even thought of the possibility of such a job were it not for the Conners)

  14. As always, I enjoyed your post a lot.  Working around a lot of college aged kids, I forget that I am old enough to be their father!  I understand exactly what Greg England’s mom told him.
    Iain