Saturday, March 26, 2011

Men, Men, Men, Men, Manly Men, Men, Men

Here's a fluff entry.
More man stuff.
In my pursuit to be(come) a man I thought I'd list some of my stereotypical manly characteristics and some of my stereotypically unmanly characteristics and see which way the scales tilt.

I usually have a stubbly beard on the go.
I like working out and want to do the iron man some time
I hold the door open for women (usually)
I like hard rock
I am a pilot (I have flown with several great female pilots but about 95% of the industry is male)
I like physical challenges
My word is my bond

Not So Manly
I cry during Disney cartoons
I love working with children, youth, teens
I am watching Gilmore Girls
Given the choice between watching X-men or Momma Mia, I chose the latter last night

Wow, I thought I would have a huge list but I ran out of ideas really quickly.

OK readers, your assignment is to list any manly or not so manly characteristics you see in me in the comments.  I'm curious what you may see in me.  I can take it.  Maybe that is what being a man is all about; being comfortable enough and confident enough in who you are to admit watching Gilmore Girls.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why I Rarely Say I Love You

I am reminded of a joke I heard years and years ago when I was 7 or 8.  For some reason I still remember it.  It is probably more a commentary on the differences between men and women than what I'm writing about but I thought, hey, I may as well open with a joke.
A wife was talking to her husband about their relationship. "You never say you love me," she complained.
The husband paused for a second and replied, "Honey, I told you on our wedding day I loved you.  If anything changes, I'll let you know."
Ba Doom, Ching.

I don't speak a lot.  It's not that I have nothing to say, it's that words are important to me.  They represent thoughts which represent a piece of who I am.

I'm not really good at small talk.  To me it's like throwing away words which is like prostituting a part of who I am.  Maybe that's a little too extreme.  I guess there is a time for small talk and goofing around.  There have been times where I have enjoyed them, but those are few and far between.  It usually takes me a long time to be comfortable enough around people to enjoy those things.

I have a little confession to make.  I hate those meet and greet times churches do during the service.  I know, I'm a horrible person.  It just feels so superficial.  Everyone has their Sunday best smiles on.  "Hi, how are you?"  "Fine.  Good morning."  "Hello,"  "Hi."  Maybe there's more depth to these exchanges than I realize.  To me though it all feels like throw away sentences.  I'd rather talk to one person for a couple minutes than 20 people for 10 seconds each. When I ask how someone is doing I am sincere.  If it is going badly, I want to know.  If it takes an hour to reply, I have the time to hear about it.

When I say something I mean it.

That's why I rarely say, "I love you."  That probably sounds wrong.  I don't mean I don't love anyone, I simply don't throw that word around because I don't want to devalue it.  It means a lot to me and I don't want it to lose its meaning.  I don't want it to become a throw away word like all the "hi"s and "hello"s passed around during meet and greet.  When I say it I meant it. The last person I told I loved was my dad.  That was 8 years ago.  That's messed up.  Maybe I should spread it around a little more.  I do love people.  I love my family and I suppose I even love my friends.

So, if I have ever told you I loved you, I meant it.  You are probably one of the very few people I have ever said it to.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Be Still And Know That I Am God

Dear Diary,

I have been so busy lately, yet again. I have been working long shifts at work, 11 to 14 hours a day, and then trying to fit in other events on top of it all. I am so tired.

As an example, last Friday I worked until 2:30am, went to a music practice at 8:30am, drove to PA at 10am to hang out with a friend, drove back to Saskatoon at 5pm to meet up with more friends, (ate ice cream, watched a movie) and got back home again at 2am, woke up at 9am and went to church. That's a little extreme but that's how it feels my last 2 weeks have gone. Today was the first work day this week I didn't have to be up by 4:30am. Unfortunately I have been so busy, and will continue to be so busy, I will miss C&C and small group and Friday morning prayer group. I am really disappointed about that.

I need to catch my breath.

Be still and know that I am God. That message seems to be surfacing in my life lately. As an introvert I appreciate it a lot, but I think it is an important message for anyone. There is so much busy-ness in life we can find ourselves running from A to B to C with no time left for ourselves, or God. I know families that run from work to school to piano lessons to soccer to karate to youth group and church. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. I never wanted my life to be that busy or complicated, and yet, here I am.

The pendulum of my life seems to spend more time at one extreme or the other. I am working towards finding the balance in between. I need "Me" time just to stay healthy. I need "Me and God" time to stay spiritually healthy as well. Hopefully this weekend I will be able to be still and know that God is God.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What To Do?

I have a friend named "Ken".

Ken's morality is very different than mine.  I find his morality is almost hedonistic.  His decisions tend to be very near sighted and very self centered.  He tends to make decisions based on instant gratification and makes excuses for his actions later.  It is difficult for me to understand the choices he makes because I am so different.

Ken is now involved in a series of decisions that I see as morally wrong.  Now, I don't want to start an entire debate on morality here (yet) but there is a self destructive tendency to the path Ken is taking.  Ken would call himself a Christian but his decisions seem very contrary to Christianity.  I will be honest and say that if one is not a Christian, or of no particular religion, one probably would not have a problem with the path Ken is going down.  However, it hurts me to see him hurting himself and creating the possibility of hurting others, while doing mental gymnastics to justify his self centered behaviour.  It hurts me to see someone claim to be a follower of Jesus, a Christian, and live a life so far from God.

So, what to do?


Pray that his relationship with God would grow and develop.  I really don't care to pray that Ken would stop doing what he is doing.  Living out a certain behaviour without the foundation for that behaviour is pointless and I don't want Ken to merely "act" a certain way.  I am praying that Ken's life will flow out of his relationship with God.  I believe that living out a life centered on God brings real change, not superficial change.  As an old proverb goes, "A person convinced against his will is of the same mind still."  As much as I want to point out the error of his ways, without a real relationship with God, nothing will really change.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Over the last week I have read two books, Wild at Heart and No More Christian Nice Guy.  They deal with that same topic.  What does it mean to be a man?  According to these books there seems to be some benchmark qualities that make up the essence of maleness and manliness.  Physical strength.  A desire for adventure.  Inner strength to make a moral stand.  Loyalty.  Confidence.  Passion.  Desire to protect and defend family.

At first glance it would seem as though these books are rather sexist and outdated in today's post modern society.  The "man" presented in these books is more knight in shining armor than metro-sexual.  However, I have gleaned a lot of information indirectly from a lot of females in my life and they seem to agree with these books.  That surprises me because these women are strong, direct, independent and career oriented.  They are not 50's style house wife women, and yet when they casually mention what they want in a guy, it is definitely the old school Marlborough man they are describing.  Here's what I've pieced together from the bits and pieces I've been able to glean from these women.

These women want a man who is rough around the edges but tender inside.  
They want a man who is strong, physically.  
They want a man who can protect them.
They want a man who is confident.
They want a man who is a gentleman.
They want a man who is a provider (even if they don't need him to provide).
They want a man who is taller, bigger, stronger than they are.
They want a man who gets angry at things that need someone to get angry at.
They want a man who is not scared to get dirty.
They want a man who can fix things.
They want a man who shares his feelings and emotions.
They want a man who is an adventurer.
They want a man who treats them like a treasure.

Am I those things?  Some of them.  Can I do those things?  Some of them.  Are those things really what a man is, or just a cultural creation that women have been taught to want?  Anyone out there want to offer comments?

Back to the main question, what is a man?  Well, according to the books, a man is exactly what those women say they want.  And a Christian man is all those things plus someone who lives out his Christian life  in the real world, not a wimpy clandestine Christian.  And that's about it so far.

Now, my question for me is, how do I become a man?  What do I do?  Is it something that one grows into, or is there a 12 step program I can enroll in?  I'll do whatever it takes.  Seriously.

Um, prayer time I guess.  Lord, please help me become the man You have created me to be.  Thank You.  Amen.

My Arrested Development

I had a cat growing up.  My cat was abandoned by its mother when he was very young.  I also had a dog.  She did not have any pups.  My dog helped raise my cat.  My cat grew up thinking it was a dog.  It never learned to meow like a cat.  It had a grrr, a little like a dog's growl.  Casper learned to fetch and wrestle like a dog.  He never was a normal cat.

I didn't hang out with a lot of people (friends) growing up.  I didn't really spend a lot of time with my dad either.  Few friends, few men in my life.  So, when I grew up, I didn't really grow up like other guys my age did.  I never felt like a normal man.

All through school I was not as socially developed as most of my friends and fellow students.  I didn't go through all those coming of age events like the first girlfriend, first kiss, buying my first (beater) car, unchaperoned party, etc...  I was about as socially developed as a 13 year old by the time I graduated.  After I graduated most of my friends moved on to university while I stayed home, got a job, and helped with our church youth group.  Basically, I stopped hanging around with people my own age and worked with Junior and Senior High youth.  I worked in youth ministry for a couple years after that with the same age group.  When I was 24 I went to CBC, where the majority of my classmates were 18 to 19 years old.  After CBC I went to the UofS and started a bachelor's degree.  The majority of the people in my classes were just out of high school so, once again, I was surrounded with 18 to 19 year olds.  After the UofS I decided to get my Commercial Pilot's licence and went back to school, again. And wouldn't you know it, the majority of my fellow pilots were 18 to 19 years old.  Once I had my licence I moved to northern Canada where my life has pretty much been on hold for the last 5 years. For the last decade I have been immersed in the world of the late teen / early 20 something. And that is the story of my arrested development.  I said early on in this blog that I felt like a 22 year old trapped in a 30 year old's body.  Well, that is still true today.

Over the last 5 years, while my life has been on pause, I have watched people I know grow up, almost like stop motion photography.  It is crazy.  The "kids" I worked with are now married and having kids of their own. When did this happen?  My colleagues talk about RRSPs and the PTA and TSFAs and I want to talk about movies, video games and concerts.  I guess I'm a late bloomer.

Sometimes I feel like I've gotten to the game about 10 years too late.  I am trying to figure out what it means to be an adult, and to be a man.  What I know for sure is that being a man is more than being an adult male.  It's more than having a car, a house, a wife, children and a moustache.  I still feel like a kid but I am making a conscious effort to grow into a man.  If only I knew what that was.