Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Post Father's Day Post

I am really grateful for men.

I am really grateful for men like the one who described for me this week what leadership looks like to him after years of figuring it out for himself. He shared from the wealth of his experience about things he learned along the way.  In so doing, he offered insight and affirmation.  He didn't ridicule my experience, questions, challenges, or circumstances.  He also didn't try to fix me.  He talked to me as if I were a leader - because I am.  He talked to me as if I were an equal - because I am.

I am grateful for the man who was big enough to release me from his own ideals and paradigms that I might find God's plan and purpose.  That takes amazing strength and security.  He treated me like a human being, capable of knowing and following God, created uniquely for God's pleasure - because I am.  And I am also grateful for the man who endeavored to understand what it might be like for a woman to want so desperately to know that she was created for God's pleasure - and not man's - because it wasn't enough for him to just feel heard and understood himself.  He practiced mutuality as if it really were mutual - because it is.

I am grateful for the man who was so secure and well-defined that he sat me down one day and told me that he wanted to open doors for me when we were out together. Then he asked my permission to do so.  In fact, I am grateful for every man who has EVER asked my permission when it pertained to something that was mine.  And now that I think about it, I am grateful for every man who has asked. Period.  Asked questions. Shown genuine curiosity.  Demonstrated authentic interest and the desire to learn and know.  I have been treated as if I am valuable and worth knowing - because I am.

I am grateful for the men who aren't afraid to say, "I'm sorry," or "I was wrong"; for the ones who can admit when they've made a mistake and ask for forgiveness; for the ones who can accept their own weaknesses, failures, and limitations and name them as such without making it who they are.  They teach me that I am more than my brokenness - because I am.

I am grateful for the man who wrote a book on the relational spirit and the ways we close off, shut down, or shut out; for the man who wrote about his journey recognizing his own white, Euro-American, oppressive male culture; for the single dad who wrote about how fathers break their children.  I am grateful for the lay leader in my church who was willing to come to my home when my husband was caught in an affair and talk to the two of us in the midst of the devastation, in the midst of the chaos and insanity and mess.  

And one of the reasons why I am so grateful for these men is because I never had a father.  I never had a father to mentor me, to affirm my gifts or abilities or calling.  I never had a father to want what was best for me or to encourage me to live out of what I was created to be.  I never had a father to teach me how I should be treated, to advocate for me, or to ask me questions.  I never had a father to tell me that I was valuable or to embody values around relationship, emotion, communication, and assertiveness as a man.  Through these and many more men, God has been father to me.

So, thank you.  Thank you, men, for fighting the battles you have had to fight to be good leaders, to be secure individuals, to love sacrificially.  Thank you for whatever messages or obstacles or powers you have had to overcome to care, to get involved, to ask, to offer, to figure out how to be men when there isn't clarity on what that even means half the time.  Thank you for being human beings instead of stereotypes.  Thank you.  I am grateful.

That is all.

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