"All of the problems of our society today stem back to men not doing what they're created to do." Our group of thirty men gathered in a semi-circle considered the weight of these words. It was a holy and unlikely moment as a bunch of usually independent ragamuffins abandoned isolation for brotherhood. Suddenly we all understood the gravity of our role.
It seems that recent history has acted to remove the father from the home. Dad no longer works in the fields surrounding the house, living out virtues of creativity, problem solving, patience, and stick-to-it-ness, but he leaves early in the morning and returns exhausted in the evening.
The home has become a sort of transit station where we all pass each other from our comings and goings. We no longer come and go together. Life comes at you fast and we trade our noble calling as men for an empty spin of work, entertainment, retirement, and death.
I am grounded in this moment by a slicing memory of my six year old daughter in my lap as I explained to her and Caleb that I was moving out of our home. My choice to abandon my promise as a husband and a father suddenly and destructively shattered lives as I saw the haunted vacancy behind my son's eyes and heard the sobs of my daughter. The promise of what would be our third child evaporated, traded for my selfish desires.
My failure to be a real man had poisoned every life I touched. My darkened soul was taken in that moment and I fell into the abyss.
Men, we were created to live out a sacred quest. We are called to challenge boys to become men. We are vital to a specific and unique role in society. We are to be kings, friends, lovers, and warriors... defending our families and our faith. We are created to give away our lives in exchange for these things that are of greater worth than our mere heartbeats.
But we die to our purpose when we become disillusioned by the whisperings of the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Temporary pursuits and false escapes gain priority and life loses purpose. We forget that life is meant to be seized in the now, and each footstep is vital to those to whom we've pledged our sacred trust.
We don't serve the God of yesterday... it is gone. We don't serve the God of tomorrow... it is only a mirage. We serve the Great I Am. Our quest is today. Forever is here. Ever After has come. Today is the promised moment.
The question is always... will I be the hero or the traitor?
It is time to claim our identity, men. I protect what is mine to hold. There is nothing more precious to me than my family. I thank God that He found me in a moment when I turned my face to Him. He restored my soul. He gave me back my home, my kids, and my wife. He set me on a path that led away from destruction and into a restored sacred path.
The problems of this world are not so complex. Men, we need to live purposeful lives. Lives of intention, days of purpose, words that build, and habits that give life. We need to be accountable to each other and challenge boys to become men.
I remember the looks of hopelessness from across the room that day I told my family that I was abandoning them. I remember the tears of my mother, and the disappointment in the face of of my father. Those memories now lie in ruin, slain like a fallen dragon by the reality that is now a restored family that shares hope.
Men, there is great value in claiming the role for which we were created. Don't be just a provider, be a husband. Be a father. Be a mentor. Be a king in your life and be the hero in your story. Reclaim the meaning and rediscover the purpose in your today.
This is how God created you to live. Protect what is yours to hold. Fight.