It’s funny… There was a time when I said that I would eventually stop doing these annual posts marking the anniversary of my father’s passing. There was probably a time that I really believed it, too. But each year when October 6 rolls around, here I am… Changing the number in the title and posting something else to remember him by.
Today marks 15 years since Dad died. He always said that he would be around here for as long as God wanted him to be here. Which, when you think about it, is really the case for everyone if you believe that God is sovereign and all knowing. Not sure what made Dad think he was so special.
I kid… Dad was special. And I’m gonna talk about why. Even though I’m sure I’ve been saying the same things over and over again on this blog for 15 years. I don’t care. There’s a good chance that none of you reading this ever knew Grayson Lee Peck. So if you have to sift through some of his legacy in the words I put in these posts, so be it. He was a good man and I’m sorry you never got a chance to meet him yourself.
Like I said, Dad was special. Like myself, he was an introvert. Though I would dare say he was a little more shy than I am. But any shyness or timidity that was on the surface melted away as soon as he got on stage and opened his mouth to sing. The man had a gift.
I vividly remember being a teenager in church, where Dad would most often display his vocal abilities, and hearing some of the older folks talk about him and his voice. On one of those Sunday mornings when Dad had been asked to sing a solo for the special music, I happened to step out of the sanctuary to go to the restroom. What? It’s not like I was missing him singing. I’d been hearing him rehearse the song all week in the car. Anyway, before I went back into the sanctuary, I heard a couple of that Sunday’s ushers talking in hushed tones in the hallway.
“There’s a guy who really missed his calling,” one of them said as he listened to my father singing over the speaker embedded in the vestibule ceiling. Am I using vestibule correctly? Seems like a proper Southern Baptist kind of word to use. The other usher nodded his agreement and I smiled a little before heading back into the worship service.
As I found my way back to my seat, I listened as Dad finished up that morning’s special song. I don’t know what song it was but it was probably something mellow that was popular in churches in the late 80s or early 90s that would show off his vocal range. Watching him on stage, I thought about what those old ushers said. I couldn’t help but think about how wrong they were.
Dad never missed his calling. Sure, Dad had an incredible voice and he could very well have been famous in some alternate universe. But he was content right where he was. Dad was a brilliant singer and, as humble as the man was, he knew it. But Dad never craved attention. He never craved fame. He used his talent simply singing in his home church. The only audiences who ever heard him were the same people who had known him for decades. And he was never happier than when he was singing a song that could potentially touch the life of someone sitting in that crowd. That was his calling.
And singing wasn’t his only talent. The man could make people smile. He could make people laugh. I mean, you had to get to know him for him to feel comfortable speaking up sometimes, but if there was anyone who could ever destroy a bad mood, it was Lee Peck. And I haven’t even mentioned how good he was in a kitchen. I like to claim that I lived with him for the last few years of his life so that I could help him out financially. No… I lived with him so he could feed me.
I miss my dad more than words could ever say. Even 15 years later, it’s a sting that never truly goes away. Sure, it’s not as sharp as it once was. But that dull ache is still there. And I’m sure that’s something that anyone who has lost a loved one will understand.
Cherish the time you have with the people you love. You never know when the last time you spoke with someone will be the last time you spoke with them.