First question – is this a blog? I’m not sure because I don’t even know what a blog is. And I can’t be a blogger because I have a stable job; I’m not sitting around eating potato chips on the couch in my boxer shorts, and I don’t live with my mom. So I’m pretty sure this isn’t a blog. Whatever this is I can assure you that I’m happy to be writing for it.
A good friend asked me the other day “What my vision for the next chapter in my life looks like?” I both love and hate a question like that. Love it because I relish the idea of introspection – finding out a deeper part of me that I didn’t know existed, turning it over, examining it from multiple angles and then looking for a way to improve myself. For some reason this is quite motivating. It gives me purpose, direction and an excitement that a better me is on the horizon.
I also hated the question because I didn’t really have an answer. Well at least not a good answer. Several thoughts flashed across my frontal lobe – be a loving husband, a good father, a skilled surgeon and a helpful friend. “Trite” I thought to myself. What does that even mean? Who ever sets out to be an unloving husband or a grumpy dad with anger issues? All of this contemplating finally spurred an answer – “I don’t really know.” “Oh” my friend said, with a hint of disappointment, as he turned back to his TV show.
And that is the point of this blog. It’s not the answer to the question (though that will lead to further blog discussions I suspect) but the fact that I have a few close friends that will pose a challenging question at the right time that will penetrate any self-built defenses. And it’s never a bulldozing thing. Because of the relationship built on years of life on life together my band of brothers can call me out when I’m being a prideful jerk or when my perspective is myopic. “So Jay it seems you’re always pointing at other people’s problems that are supposedly preventing your happiness. How about let’s look and see if you play any kind of role in this.” They short circuit defensiveness by undergirding the whole thing in love. The undercurrent is “Jay we love you so much that if we help you figure this out you will become more Christ-like and a more powerful, transparent authority for the Kingdom.”
Through their careful handling of my heart I have learned to do the same. They have knocked off the rough edges of “truth without love” that I can bring to the table sometimes. There is much to be said about the old adage, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” But this hackneyed saying remained void for the majority of my life until my friends helped drive it home by setting examples of consistency and wisdom.
Our friendship is one of the treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus talks about. A place of total acceptance, joy, laughter, challenge and reproach. Each one of us feels called by God to spread the power of brotherhood to all that will listen. As another close friend said after attending the Life to the Limit Retreat, “So many men out there don’t need what they don’t know they need.” And we pray earnestly that men throughout our community would begin to unearth the deep desire of unconditional friendship that has been placed deep within each one of our souls.
On the journey with you,