September 16th, 2009
If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a “words” guy. My wife says that I can use two-hundred words to describe something when twenty words would have sufficed. Guilty as charged, I suppose.
Nevertheless, one cannot underestimate the influence words have on our lives and on our culture at large. In this day and age, headlines are made as much by words as they are by actions. Kanye West is a great example. His stunt at the Video Music Awards in stealing the moment away from Taylor Swift by grabbing the microphone and proclaiming another artist more worthy of the award that Taylor had just been given sent the entertainment journalism industry whirling into a gleeful tailspin. It’s amazing how just a few words can produce such far-reaching effects.
Such is true in life, I suppose. Without a key few words, marriage proposals do not exist. You can wish for it. Hope for it. Dream about it. Plan the moment. But at the end of day, if the words “will you marry me” never surface, neither will a wedding.
So you can imagine the weight that words carry around my house, especially with the arrival of little Sadie Bell. As I’ve already written, I didn’t wait for actual words to surface before I allowed Sadie to begin speaking . . . I spoke on her behalf in a voice that she no doubt appreciated. However, I’ve had to face the fact– even look forward to it– that the day is fast approaching when she will no longer need my assistance. In fact, I may be the one who needs assistance if this child is half as verbal as her parents. She’s been extremely verbal from the get-go, she simply has yet to move on from Klingon to English . . . thus, without my translations, her brilliance would come off as nothing but babbling.
I will never forget when her first “real” words came. I take no great pleasure (yeah right) in telling you that the first intelligible syllables that surfaced from her delicate little lips were, “Da Da.” Well, actually they were something sort of like “Da Da”; they were really more like “Dadt.” The “t” was very pronounced and quite humorous. I even captured the audio for your enjoyment. Listen away and note the brilliant dialect. Simply click on the following link and the file should open in Quicktime or your Media Player.
Now, I’ve got to tell you. I still smile . . . even laugh out loud every time I hear her say “Dadt” on this recording. In fact, if I was honest, I usually tear up too. Why? Because my little girl . . . the most precious little one in the world to me . . . is calling my name the best way she knows how.
Consider with me the future. Unfortunately, the day is fast approaching (the fast part is the unfortunate part) when Sadie will no longer speak to me using only one syllable words. As a youth pastor, I am well-versed in the vernacular of adolescents and I observe them making requests and remarks with their own parents on a daily basis. There are some “darling” girls out there who simply have to smile and say “Daddy” before their helpless fathers open up their wallets and begin dishing out any and all funds that may have resided there previously. Such is my future. I’m aware.
Yet, in all seriousness, Sadie will also be able to verbalize many other things. These days, crying and just a handful of simple words are the extent of her communication. As parents, you learn to distinguish somewhat. We can usually tell when she’s tired or hungry, even though she can’t speak these needs. When the diaper is dirty, no words are needed . . . gagging does the trick. Yet, a day is coming when her needs will be expressed by her own words.
Knowing that day is coming, I’ve become aware of something: when Sadie becomes more adept at expressing herself verbally, I will never be more desirous to respond as I am right now. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be any less either. I’m simply stating that any expression from my child produces action. My heart moves as much for “Dadt” as it will for “Daddy, can I borrow the keys to the car?” Oooh, I just got shivers.
Such is also true of the heavenly Father. Scripture tells us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NLT). Notice that it doesn’t state that we must know exactly what we’re asking for in order to receive what we need. It doesn’t say, “Whoever can remember every single last sin that they’ve ever committed and recount them in detail to God, in addition to fully understanding and expressing to God all that He is and means to them in life on this earth and beyond will be saved.” Nope. The heart of the Father responds to the simple crying out of His name. If you’re like me, sometimes I just need to shut up with all of my verbosity and just cry out, “Dadt!” The Father knows infinitely better than I do exactly what I need and He will respond accordingly.
Keep this idea in its context. I’m not saying that every prayer should be this simplistic or that we should not spend time in deep conversation with God, expressing our worship and making our needs known. All of this is Biblical. What I’m saying is that God isn’t an ATM machine waiting for us to punch in the right code of words in order to withdraw the help we need.
Sometimes just calling out His name is enough . . . I know that it’s enough for my little girl.