My Brothers

They say insult is the language of intimacy among men, and there is truth to that. Still, there remains a sense of hesitation and reservation when it comes to men expressing their love for other men.

A couple of years ago, I put my thoughts on this subject together in a poem. I was reminded of that today when a friend of mine shared the new video for NEEDTOBREATHE‘s song Brother. The video is fantastic, but I prefer this recording from a live performance just a little bit better. I truly shows the amazing experience that is NTB live.

To my brothers: Thank you all for being mentors, inspiration, pillars, and safety nets in my life. It goes unsaid all too often, but know with bedrock certainty that I love you.

Brotherhood

You answered the phone when I called late that night
You had my back when I got caught in that fight
You helped me up all those times I fell
You guided me out of my personal hell

It’s strange how strangers can come together
And for this circumstance we are both better … off
Both as individuals and as men
And through it all we’d both do it again

We don’t share DNA, we don’t even share a name
Yet through it all, you’re my brother all the same
We live our lives and go about our separate day to day
But I’m with you, brother, every step of the way

Our kids come together and they play
And we hope that their kids will do the same one day
We watch some football and have some beer
We talk about life and those things we fear

We’ve redefined what it means to be family
‘Cause you and I don’t share a branch on a tree
Yet we share an unspoken love that bonds like no other
A bond that can only be defined as that of a brother

It’s in the lyrics of a classic tune
It’s in the games we watch on Saturday afternoon
It’s in the motorcycles rides that take us away
It’s in all those bar tabs you decided to pay
It’s our respective better halves keeping us straight
It’s knowing because of them we’re able to be great
It’s in keeping perspective every time we compete
It’s in living a life that is full and complete

We don’t share DNA, we don’t even share a name
Yet through it all, you’re my brother all the same
We live our lives and go about our separate day to day
But I’m with you, brother, every step of the way

Called to Drink

It’s been my experience that life is found in the spontaneous moments.

“Dude. Whatcha’ doing right now.”

“Talking to you.”

“I mean …. do you have anything going on this afternoon.”

“No. Why?”

“Want to go get some beers?”

“Are you in the need for some beers?”

“Dude ….. I’m always in the need for some beers.”

“Let’s do it.”

As so ‘it’ happened, and so my buddy and I got together for some beer and some grub. Totally off diet, but totally worth it. There was no rhyme or reason. We weren’t planning anything. He didn’t need to give anything to me or I return anything to him. We just got together because we could.

And we got together because I told to do so.

I know a lot of people will roll their eyes at the notion that God speaks to them. Statements like those often lead to bizarre follow-up questions or awkward silence. So I can only imagine how it will be received as I tell you that God told me to go drink beer with my friend. “Dude. I turned water into wine at a party. Go share in some suds with you bud.” {As an aside, I love the notion of surfer-dude Jesus. Jesus calling out to the first disciples in their boat: “Sup, dudes. Catch anything? No? Try the other side, man.” Jesus telling Peter he will deny him three times: “Duuuuuuude. Before the rooster crows, you’re gonna like totally deny me three times. Bummer, I know.” This would make for an excellent play. Anyways….}

It wasn’t a voice. There was no sign. It was more of a feeling. At the moment I reached out to my friend, I felt a conviction there was nothing more important that I needed to be doing. It was the feeling of, “Go. Leave now. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.”

As it turns out, my friend had a lot on his mind. As a guy, I was someone to whom he could simply turn and just talk, vent, inquire, wonder, etc. By the end of the third beer, I could see his demeanor had changed. He was tight when I met up with him. As we headed home, he seemed more relaxed and a little more at ease.

Whatever the reason, be it divine intervention or simple random impulse, this evening meant a lot to me. I am quite sure it meant a lot to my buddy as well. At the end of the day, we don’t need a special occasion to make an occasion special. All we need is the motivation to reach out to each other and be to others the type of friend that makes a difference in someone’s life.

That and beer.

Beer

My Struggle (W@HBC Day 2)

Some of my notes and thoughts from attending Wild at Heart Boot Camp – August 16

There is a lot of struggle at the core of the Wild at Heart Boot Camp. Much of that struggle deals with the issue of masculine abandonment from father to son. John Eldredge makes the following statement: Only masculinity can bestow masculinity. Even Jesus received this validation from his Father when he was baptized in the Jordan River.

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17 (NIV)

The struggle I face is somewhat the opposite. One of the many blessings I’ve always maintained in my heart is that my father, as flawed as he was, always gave me love and validation. My dad was a short-tempered alcoholic, and even when he got sober – sober because his doctor told him, “You can keep drinking and die in six months, or you can stop drinking right now and watch your kids grow up” – my father always set the bar very high for my brother and me.

My dad pushed me to excel, but he never hesitated to tell me he loved me. I’ve sat and pondered, and I cannot recall a moment when my dad ever told me he was disappointed with me. Coming from a man who was abandoned by his own father at the age of fourteen, the fact my dad’s heart overflowed with love towards me is nothing short of a miracle.

As I wrote in the eulogy for my father, I can only hope to be half the dad to my kids as my father was to me. I look at the relationship I share with my son, and I pray that I am bestowing on my son the same love and validation my father gave to me. I like to think I am doing a good job, but I am also terrified that I will somehow mess up along the way. My journey with Christ is as much about setting true both my children’s hearts as it is about setting true my own.

ESPN personality Colin Cowherd says that once your kids get to the age of about thirteen or fourteen, you pretty much stop being a parent and you’re basically a consultant. Teens and pre-teens are going to do what they want, and I pray the foundation my ex-wife and I have laid out, along with the amazing job my wife has done in her role as step-mom, will allow my children to make good and sound decisions in their lives.

Going forward, I hope I can ‘consult’ for my children by living a life they wish to model. I hope to live a life centered in God’s love, rooted in His truth, and reflective of His amazing grace towards everyone. By being the best Christ follower I can be, I know I am doing what I can to be the best father I can be.

 

Dan & Me