Posts Tagged ‘drive

13
Oct
21

Am I Really a Male?

By all outward indications, the answer to the question posed above is a resounding, “YES!” 

Hmmm…

The inward benchmarks (e.g., the sum of my urges, drives, thinking, and worldview) also seem to point in the direction of an affirmative response.

But lately I’ve started to wonder…

Last week I showed up for a training session for a new volunteer activity I am taking on. The activity involves telling stories to children in elementary schools in this area. It seems to be a good fit with my skill set as well as being a great way to bring a little joy and connection into our stressed out, beleaguered classrooms.

There were six new storyteller trainees in the room… I was the only male.

The same thing used to happen when I attended work-out classes at our gym. In a room of 30 participants, there might have been three other males… tops. 

In the midst of the heated presidential election last year, I wanted to help register new voters. After much searching, I found that the only organization actively working on that goal was the League of Women Voters… 

So, I joined!

The one group I have joined in the last two years that was all men was a book club. And – can I level with you here? – it was not all that enjoyable. When we gathered, I found lots of posturing and competing to see who had the best insight into the author’s meaning.

It seems to me that everything I am drawn to – in terms of groups or activities or outreach – is dominated by WOMEN! I am also a churchgoer and every piece of research that has been done in the last 30 years will tell you that many more WOMEN attend church than men. 

To that point, a recent ABC News/Beliefnet poll showed that 44% of the women surveyed reported that they attend church weekly vs. 32% for the men. In the Catholic church, the divide was even wider with 49% of women attending weekly vs. 26% of men.

So maybe the question really isn’t, “Am I actually a male?” Maybe the better question is, “Where are you, my brothers?”

All of this makes me ask:

  • Is it a uniquely female thing to volunteer to serve your community?
  • Is it a uniquely female thing to exercise with a group vs. on one’s own?
  • Is it a uniquely female thing to seek to care for one’s spiritual health in a communal setting? 

If the answer to any of these questions is, “YES,” I would also like to know, “Why is that?”

It really doesn’t bother me to show up in a room full of women. I think you all are – on the whole – intelligent, caring, energetic, and very open people. In a group of women, THINGS GET DONE! And quite often FUN is had along the way!!

I am sure there are multiple sociological studies on this topic that shed insight onto my question. Someday I might look one up and read it.

In the meantime, I guess I will just keep showing up, following the leading of the Spirit, and celebrating the people that show up there with me… whichever gender they are.

But before I sign off, I need to ask: does anybody have a good recipe for beef stroganoff you’d like to share?

Abundant blessings;

28
Jul
20

“The Beast Tamer”

Hedge trimmer“OK. That’s it,” I said to myself. “Today is the day!”

My exasperation with the state of the hedge along our back fence finally hit the breaking point last Friday. I headed to the garage in search of the hundred-foot-long extension cord, step ladder, and electric clippers… preparing to tame the unruly green beast.

I had been putting off this loathsome chore for several weeks now, but the time had finally come. Several small pets from around the neighborhood had apparently gotten lost inside my hedge and their owners were concerned.

My hedge comes honestly by its nickname “The Beast.” It is at least 100 feet long and – when allowed to grow unchecked – reaches 12 or 15 feet in height. Not content to grow upward, it also bushes out horizontally in a very shaggy, unkempt manner.

With all equipment finally in order (and Joan standing by, ready to dial 911), I began to operate.

About ten minutes into the procedure, I was interrupted by the delightful Scottish brogue of Hugh, our neighbor-behind-the-hedge. Hugh had come out onto his deck, was waving his arm and cheerfully hailing me. “Hey there, neighbor! Would you like to borrow THIS? It’ll make the job a lot easier!”

In Hugh’s left hand was a shiny red electric hedge trimmer with a 22-inch blade. My sad excuse for a hedge tool had only a stubby 16-inch blade.

Hugh (and no, I did not make up this name. My Scottish neighbor really IS named “Hugh.”) headed over and in the twinkling of an eye was standing at the base of my ladder, red, 22” trimmer in hand.

“Here… let me show you how it works,” Hugh said. And in an instant, he had commandeered my extension cord and began trimming massive swaths of hedge. “You see,” he said, “You really need to get right back there or else you’ll be out here again in two weeks doing the same thing.”

After turning over his red “Beast Tamer” to me, Hugh exited by the rear gate, but not before saying, “And don’t worry about the top. I’ll just trim that from my side when you’re done.”

And then, in less time than it took me to grab Hugh’s hedge trimmer and ascend the step ladder, I sensed that a mystical transformation had taken place. Suddenly, an EVENT (a neighbor stopped what he was doing and helped me trim my hedges) became a STORY (“I live in this great neighborhood where people go out of their way to help each other.”)

And hopefully, in the retelling of this dull, dry, quotidian event I have been able to illustrate something that is both a primary penchant, but also a fundamental need of human beings everywhere… the need for STORIES. (To that end, may I recommend one of my favorite bloggers to you, Mitch Teemley and his blog, The Power of Story at: https://mitchteemley.com).

Every day you and I stumble through a collection of seemingly happenstance, unrelated moments of our lives. We get up, water the house plants, walk the dogs, shower, eat a little yogurt and granola, and do a thousand other things before we turn off the bedside lamp and close our eyes.

Throughout that haphazard progression, we are niggled by a fundamental hunger for MEANING. We look at this tangle of these random, multi-colored threads and ACHE to believe that if we flip the frame over and look at the other side, we will see a beautiful, flowing, coherent, tapestry. A yearning to make sense of the world around us is an essential part of being human. In our heart of hearts, we know that a narrative of randomness and arbitrarity is ultimately corrosive to our souls.

And so, we must each choose the narrative we will live by.

Not just the one that helps make sense of today, but the one that helps make sense of FOREVER. Because it is only in the setting of that meta-narrative that our mundane mini-narratives can add up to anything at all.

Today I join the Old Testament hero Joshua in declaring, “As for me and my household, we will serve [choose] the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, NRSV).

And trust me when I tell you, in my life I have done extensive shopping at the Narrative Mall and after much painful trial and error, I have chosen THIS ONE as the one I will live by.

Why?

Because as Beast Tamers go, this one beats them ALL!

 

Abundant blessings;




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