"Better a close neighbor than a distant relative."
"Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king."
(1 Peter 2:16 & 17)
What an interesting day it has been!
This morning I was on the phone with a fellow who is starting up a small, Christian liberal arts college here in the cities. He will have all of my information tomorrow, and hopefully we will set up a time to meet in the next week or so. It's way too early to even count eggs, let alone chickens. But it's the first real glimmer of hope that I have had in ages. (I won't go into any detail, because it just feels like I will jinx myself by doing so.)
I went over to Best Buy early this afternoon, to return some computer stuff I didn't need. Low & behold, I ran into a friend of mine that I had been hoping to get together with for a long time. He is an Iraq war veteran who was hit by an I.E.D. He has been out of the army now for a year, and has been struggling with PTSD ever since.
We went over to a bagel shop near by, and for the next 40 minutes he talked non-stop about some of the horrible things he saw over there. He told me stuff that made me cry, but he told it almost without emotion on his part. He said that other than talking to Army Shrinks, he hadn't even told that stuff to his family. This guy needed to talk! (I hope he starts blogging about his journey, too. I think it would do him a world of good.)
Once again, it caused me to question the wisdom of politicians who are often too eager to spend the lives of young people for some grand geo-political strategy. Hey, last count there are at least 300,000 vets with PTSD from our two wars.
It also continued to make my gut gnaw at me over all of the former students I know who signed up in search of glory & honor for king & country. War is certainly not the video game that it is often portrayed.
This afternoon, before I left for a BBQ, I was contacted on FaceBook by a kid from my former school. I barely know this kid. He was never in any of my classes. I think he only knows me through being a friend of some of my actual students. This kid wants me to help him with his driver's permit!?!?!
Aside from that being a rather large responsibility that I am not sure I want to take on, I can't figure out why he would pick me of all people. I wont tell you specifically what he said in response to that question, but suffice it to say that after sliced Wonder Bread, I am apparently the next coolest thing. (Which is great for my ego, but hardly gives me any solid, logical reasoning.) I guess I must have done at least a couple of things right at that school.
I still have to think that one through, though.
So finally this evening I end up going to a Dude's BBQ for the men at Living Waters. It was at Shorty's house out in the sticks of Lakeville. I will confess that he has one cool pad. It's more hobby farm than anything else, from it's appearance. I am of the opinion that he should take up bow hunting because of all the wildlife that passes with in yards of his deck. (He would never lack for fresh venison.) I would be more than happy to purchase a silencer for my rifle, if it would help.
God designed the brains of men and women differently for a reason. We were designed to compliment each other. I listened to a podcast at the gym today on divorce. Rick McKinley got off on a tangent about how the marriage of a man and a woman is a portrait of God in many respects. It is an illustration of how things are supposed to be when his Shalom is in it's proper place.
Still, there is a necessary place for men to simply hang out with other men. (Admit it. We need a place to fart as loudly & joyously as possible, and to have that gaseous serenade appreciated for the fine art it is.) Guys need other guys for reasons that women will often not fully comprehend. But I suppose the same could be true about women hanging out together, too. ("Ding, dang ol talkin' bout HER NEEDS!") Anyway, there is a place for the sexes to be separate for a time. It is how we often re-energize.
I'm still single. I still do hope to get married someday...if Jessica Alba or Alicia Keeys will say "Yes" at some point. I am of the opinion that I will treat whoever she may be like a rare jewel, because I figure I am the luckiest bastard on the planet to have her have ME! I love the quote from Paul Newman when asked about cheating on his wife. "Why would I go out for a hamburger when I have a steak waiting for me at home?"
In the mean time, I get to watch the other guys.
I will admit that it is funny to see how grown men will regress to one degree or another when it is just other guys around. It's like Peacocks showing off their plumage. One guy at the BBQ had a tendency to through golfballs at the other guys in jest...but also with plenty of force. I will confess that I am glad he didn't do that to me. I may have thrown something back that was on the end of my arm and was clenched.
There is a book by John Eldredge called "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man's Soul." I have it, but have yet to read it. My friend Tom swears it is awesome. Essentially, the book asserts that men need to be MEN, and not the sissified & neutered creatures that our post-modern culture often turns us into. This does not mean that we are to be chauvinistic brutes, who treat women like meat. (Our culture perverts that enough as it is.) But it does assert that guys are hard wired to be a bit of a dare devil and danger seekers. Without an "Out" for that longing, we get a bit stir-crazy.
I don't know enough about it all to offer an informed opinion, but it probably does go aways in explaining why I always wanted to slay dragons and other monsters as a kid. I loved hearing Viking stories, and myths about Thor and such. What little boy doesn't want to grab a big, old broad sword and slice & dice the neighbor kids to pieces? (Oh wait. Pretend I didn't print that. My former therapist might be reading this.)
ANYWAY, it was a fun evening just hanging out with the guys from church. Actually, I guess to put it biblically, they weren't from the church. Where ever two or more are gathered in his name...they ARE the church. And this church digs bonfires, brats, and a full moon rising slowly over the trees.
P.S. Since most guys do wish to be a Knight in Shining Armor at some point in their existence, I give you tonight's video illustration.