Monday, May 2, 2011

In the Company of Men

As I am waking up this morning, back in real civilization, I realize I have too many thoughts, questions, ideas and experiences swirling around in my head to be adequately addressed here in a single post. What I will attempt to do in the coming days is to slowly process them here in order to able to take a close look at them as time permits.

I spent the last three days on a camping trip with the guys from my life and church. It was a space created for us to all get away into the outdoors and simply spend quality time in each others presence, have a good weekend, play, eat, talk and live but also tackle some of the things that we face as a diverse group of guys in this crazy world we live in. I think the only criteria for the Mens Retreat was simply to have a penis. Everything after that about who you are is just fine.

Yeah...already I am realizing that I can't start pulling these things out of my head yet. Suffice it to say. I had an amazing and thought provoking three days. It has been many months since I have packed so much life, play and conversation into each and every day. After sleeping twelve hours, I can see that I probably could not sustain that pace of life indefinitely.

This weekend we talked about being male, about masculinity, how we experience God, morality, dreams, family, relationships and sex. A lot about sex. The guys I was with included married guys, single guys, divorced guys, straight, gay and bisexual. We had a great cross section of ages, identities, orientations and experiences. I hope to be able to sort through much of what was covered and get it out in words here.

We didn't have some speaker who preached or talked at us, but rather, a series of hosted conversations and we were a self facilitating group. Topics were thrown out and then discussed and anyone who wanted to jump in on the discussions could. There were no "leaders" or teachers. You didn't have to attend anything at all if you did not want to. The time was yours to involve or seclude yourself as you wished. Plenty of space to play and have a good time, a lot of hiking and of course...lots of fire! We closed each night with a huge bonfire that sometimes lasted almost till dawn. Guys basically came and went as they wanted to. There was no enforced structure, merely a frame work to participate in, if you wished. I spent time resting, talking, listening, hiking, playing games, cooking...all the things that made the weekend work and enjoyable for myself and everyone else did the same. You make of it what you want.

I realize I am rambling now, so suffice it to say, I had a great time, learned so much about myself and my friends, made new friends and gained even more perspective and insight in what it means not only to be a man, but also to live in a community of men. In all my life, I have always deserved my enemies, but never have I deserved my friends. These guys and men in my life make it so much richer. I truly love and cherish being known and being accepted, just for who I am.

More on all that later. I need a shower and some coffee.


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