Other men...

I sat with a group of men as I shouldered the weight of their lives and shared the weight of my own. We were perched on a deck high above a large waterfall processing our heart's responses to the "Wild at Heart" dvd we had just watched inside. The explosive sound of rushing water crashed down against jagged rocks mixed with the sight of colorful leaves falling into the fast moving, foamy river. The old railroad bridge with dark beams sat still down the bending riverbed contributing a rustic energy to the moment. The sun was setting in the West casting shadows across the Milling Plant. Birds darted to and fro trying to take care of last minute details before retiring into the black of night. The air was crisp and cool smelling of leaves, agitated fresh water and old wood. My eyes struggled to adjust to the dimmy light of dusk...my regulating depth pereception was almost making me dizzy.

As we sat on this old deck, the company of men I have been blessed to share life with recently just split open like an over-ripe pear, dripping with the sweet fluid of the soul. Some things shared were held inside since childhood...if these thoughts and feelings were old clothes, they would have smelled like mothballs. The dust had settled over most of what was being stirred kicking up emotions and anger and questions and desires that had for too long lay dormat in untampered regions of their masculine underworld. With ever minute that wisked by, deeper thoughts and more loaded words and worlds were being shared and discovered. I haven't ever been with a group of guys that have gelled so quickly and gone so deep in such a short duration of time. It's like they are all so hungry from freedom they have bypassed trust to dive directly into honesty. Desperation has a way of dismissing the luxery of the "perfect time" to open up. There isn't a perfect time. And I think they are starting to understand that they will spend their whole lives waiting for this so-called "perfect time" in vain. Their motto seems to be, "There's no time like the present." I like that one much better.

Old wounds were lanced again. Bones that had healed crooked were rebroken. The assembly line was called into question and the process of "disassembly" with the hope of "reassembly" began. One of the hardest things to accept is that we don't have "it together" like we think we do. It's only when we allow things to unravel that we find the freedom that comes from redemption. And things were unraveling in the best way possible last night...and if they are going to come undone, what better place than the presence of other men who are piecing themselves back together with you. It was beautiful in a manly way.

I love seeing men cry over their desire to get free. I love seeing them shed the shell to unveil their fears and failures. I love hearing them speak into each other's lives with words of truth and grace. I love feeling them get it for the first time in their lives. The lights are going on, the sirens are sounding...they are just starting to understand what it really means to be alive. It is a meaning that changes everything.


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