I had dinner with a friend last night and it had been awhile since we had talked. He proceeded to bring me up to speed on his accomplishments, achievements and performance of the last five years. Quite a resume.
When I asked him about his life of faith he paused then said it was not what it had been so many years ago. He somehow, like many other men I know, gotten caught up in seeking acceptance through their work. This friend who at one time shared his heart with me had become a reluctant revealer, an emotional evader, fearful that I might discover that at core he really isn’t as strong as he led me to believe. When we leave the consistent community of men that share honestly and courageously it becomes hard for us to admit that we are a terrifying mix of neediness and strength, of confusion and certainty. We are so addicted to performance and winning, and of course many of us were conditioned this way.
So many of us are terrified that love will be withheld if we are honest with one another. We fear that love will be withdrawn if we share honestly that our lives are filled with fear, anxious thoughts and times of aloneness? I think for many of us its connected to the demanding, unforgiving and conditional love of our fathers. The independence and self-sufficiency of our fathers has left us with demons that are legion. Our overwhelming need to continually prove that we are a “strong normal male” keeps us distant from the grace offered by God and friends.
It seems the ghosts of our past continue to haunt us.