Walking into a room already in progress, I take my seat on the couch, hugging the right side….self trained not to be pinned to the middle with no way out.
All of this is playing out in real life, yes in perfect order of what I’ve already conceptualized in my mind. A bunch of guys, well-planned, on-time, and ready to talk about what the others are expecting all according to the pain of a pre-planned agenda.
I’m late, so quickly handed the agenda on paper while listening to another man read aloud the scripture du-jour while everyone struggles to find the hidden meaning of w
hat the prophet and good doctor (we were reading Luke) said thousands of years ago.
The self-declared leader asks the group various questions, as to stir emotion and create the right “share time” to get strangers to connect.
One man ventures out only to be caught in awkwardness, burying the rest of us in a vague exasperation of not really knowing what was just said.
The story continues getting thicker and richer…not, however till much later.
Scriptures are exchanged out of context, opinion and thoughts are voiced with little coherency, eyes wide open as young men struggle to look wise and yet we’re all throwing up facts and figures while we judge and label each other.
It’s quite the show, tickets should be sold, valet parking would clean up at the crowd curious to grace the spectacle that was unfolding before me.
For…I was caught in Small Group.
I continually scan the room, reading the faces of my peers as they unknowingly communicate volumes, yet not saying a word.
The heaviness was felt before I opened the front door but I bust through anyway, acting calm & (clearing my throat) meek, desperate for realness. I bathed in bullshit the entire day in my means of making a meager living, I wanted truth and I was going to get it from these guys.
Men chatter, but there is a deeper level that is avoided like the plague.
There is one that emerges, one man that, with a wild, childlike curiosity pushes past the walls of emotional safety to explore, discover and know….truly know his fellow man enough to welcome him as brother. Desperate to unpack how we share the same spiritual daddy, piercing questions are presented with a thundering silence that follows.
You can hear the sound of the clearing throat, the feeling of pending indignation is unavoidable as the questioned man stares down the perceived threat, not knowing if its friend or foe.
Like a lion, the man doesn’t turn away and, after a 5 second awkward silent exchange, 2 men unite on common ground for the power of story to unfold.
Slowly one-by-one we open our closed hearts to relate to the others. The simplest question of inquiry turns silenced boys into men as we speak of things that have never been touched.
We all have so much to say since nobody has ever listened well. We honor the 30-45 minute time increments as slowly a man emerges onto the scene to present a life of triumph birthed from the pain of experience and reflection.
Men talk about fathers and boyhood battle scars. Addictions are confronted and laid bare. The titles and labels we once assigned each other slowly peel away to reveal a soul, a fellow brother. With reckless abandonment, we toss caution aside and pursue each other in an exchange to learn and grow. Grace is extended in quality and quantity and slowly our stories align to form something deeper than just comradery.
Shakespeare said, “A true friend bares another’s infirmities.” Surely, now I fully comprehend the weight and responsibility of the deceased poets words. I laugh when they laugh, I cry when they cry, I bare the burden of the fatherhood, marriage, secular pursuits and the dreams they long for with passion and silent desperation.
Men….real men….how do we become one if we don’t let the ones all around us to suffer, to live their journey with a willingness to serve each other? I’ve sought long, fought hard, studied deeply, traveled long, prayed extensively for my purpose to reveal itself, desperate to become a giant among men.
In the well-meaning, yet selfish and vain pursuit, I’ve discovered something so much greater and richer.
Men, Giants, really were all around me and I saw what I wanted to see….a demeaned version of the beauty that stood before me.
Today, we baptized men into a Godly brotherhood. We cried, we prayed, we embraced….there was TRUE beauty among us as one by one, we stood strongly beside each other and a new spirit emerged from the water.
No more hiding, no more meaningless competitions of nothingness. We accepted and loved to welcome in with power and honor God’s kingdom in our lives.
Children will grow and be loved under our stewardship, women will be adored and honored with a steadfast conviction. Churches will grow as we don’t fear worldly judgment or hide truth in exchange for the praises of man. Businesses will flourish and profit will be realized as we bring value to others and honor God in all our pursuits.
Praise God….we are men being men and I shout for their victory, their abundant joy overflowing into the spheres of dryness to create life and recruit others to the passionate journey.
My purpose is revealed and no longer am I a wounded warrior of one.
Long after I’ve left this earth, may they speak of me and say, “I was a Godly man that walked with Giants.”