Saturday, December 12, 2015

on brotherhood

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Today I am proud to introduce Mr. Gryce as our guest blogger!

This post is near and dear to his heart; 
he has been passionate about the importance of 
Godly masculinity, true brotherhood and raising up men
for as long as I have known him.

As his wife, 
I am profoundly grateful for the few good men 
who have mentored, counselled, and walked him through
many difficult times in his life,
and for those who have helped shape him into the
amazing man he is today.
  
He gave the following speech at the men's breakfast 
at our church this morning, 
and I thought it was too good not to share.
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For most of my life I have lived in adoration towards my uncle.  At home I did not have a lot of masculinity bestowed upon me, but ever since I can remember I was drawn towards it. 

My Uncle Glenn was the guy I longed for in my childhood.  He was a man’s man.  He did most of his life alone.  He was profoundly gifted at craftsmanship.  He renovated his house himself; he built everything himself.  He would go to the lumber yard and grab a chunk of Walnut and carve out a stock for a .358 Winchester which is now in my gun vault which I take out and play with from time to time.  He taught me what he knew, showed me how to ride a dirt bike, operate a chainsaw , renovate a house, shoot a gun, enjoy episodes of The Lone Ranger and to love God.

He was my hero.  He introduced me to Christ when I was 12 and I have been a Christian ever since.  If he said anything then I would believe it.  He was a very broken man who drank a lot. It consumed him.  He was conceived before the war and then after the war his father abandoned him.  He never lived it down.  It haunted him every day of his life and he hated his father with a passion even though he died a long time ago in 1979.  Over time his relationship with God had eroded and he began to hate Him too because every time he called upon His name all he received was silence just like the times he called to his earthly father.  He tried counselling but his mantra was always, “I tried counselling but I couldn’t help them”.  He mocked them and continued to live alone.  He turned into an angry old drunk and didn’t give a damn what you thought about it.

He died on September 27th of this year.  He starved himself to death and we spread his ashes where I shot my first partridge.  I did nothing but cry quietly and console my wife.
I have learned the hard way that Lone Rangers don’t survive.

This pang is only one of many.  I would love to stand here and tell you that I’m alive in Christ, that I’m strong enough to handle anything that comes my way but I cannot.  Even though I do have places within me that are of that calibre, there are also other parts of me that are lonely, afraid and really pissed off.  I usually hide those parts because as a man I am ashamed of them. I know that when I’m in an environment where these broken parts come to the forefront of who I am, the probability of me being good drops to zero.  It’s just a matter of time.  I want to honor God, my wife and the men standing next to me, but I can’t do it alone.

When I was courting my wife, I loved her very much and I was dead set on showing her that.   So I studied her. I watched her every move.  I learned what she loved and hated; I saw what made her smile and frown.  I looked at what pleased her and then I did my best to become it.  That wasn’t too hard.  

I love God too.  The problem with this is that when I study what makes him happy, it’s a standard I can’t meet in and of myself.  If I want to get even close to where God wants me I need both the vertical relationship with him and the horizontally relationship with his people. 

Men’s Groups have saved me from a world of pain.  They have given me clarity of thought by listening to multiple perspectives, support when I faced things bigger than myself, they challenged me when I was proud and they have held me accountable when I made excuses.
 
I’m in a group that is loaded with old guys and it’s one of the best groups I’ve ever been in.  I value their wisdom and understanding.  I shared some things in the group and I genuinely believed I was the only one going through what I was going through, but when I heard the other men speak I was amazed how I wasn’t alone in my struggle.  They were going through something similar and often felt the same way I did.  

I don’t fully understand why, but there is something within that camaraderie that makes me come fully alive.  That piece of me that loves life which I thought had been long abandoned shows itself to me and  it’s in those times that I know that my place is not with those tired and lonely souls who know neither the value of community nor brotherhood. 

 "We few. We happy few. We band of brothers." -- Shakespeare