Tag Archives: friendships

hurricane

Hurricane Hunk?

Guest blog by John Rorvik

Well, I’d like to think of myself as Jack Bauer, the government agent in the TV show 24 who uses his mind, muscles and mastery of technology to simultaneously handle terrorist threats and crises in his personal life. But if I’m honest with myself, I’m no hunk, and anyone who knows me would agree. I think Cyclone Clod is a more accurate description. But I can’t argue with the hurricane part. Storms have entered my life like everyone else. And on that point, I have seen again and again the great benefit of close friendships with men to help guide me through the tempests of life.

I count among my many blessings the men who were placed in my path who have encouraged, challenged, and inspired me. They also will hold me accountable. These relationships started out the way most do among guys, with a discussion over common interests. Most often it is about sports, which I have heard referred to as “the language of guys”. From there it goes on to talks about car repairs, home repair projects, or how to find the best deal on some new gadget.

Like most men, I have a lot of these casual conversations. But at times I have sensed it was safe to become more self- revelatory with a guy and to talk about a feeling or a struggle. It’s not always easy to go there. Yet I have found that if I move forward wisely with select men, that transparency opens a door that I have never once regretted unlocking. I get insight and a new perspective from someone who knows me, is often dealing with something very similar, and perhaps has advanced further down the path toward peace and resolution.

Each of these friendships has taken a different form, but all have progressed past the surface to something deeper. For me, the church has been the best place to find these friendships, as it is there I find men who are looking for deeper answers than the world offers. Finding each one was ultimately an act of God’s grace, but there are things I needed to do to allow that grace into my life. More than anything, it meant being intentional. I try to maintain three habits, though I actually follow each one quite imperfectly:

  • If the friend is local, I set up a regular time to meet. It’s one thing to say “We should get together sometime”. When I say that, I mean it and want to do it. But then a natural inertia sets in and nothing happens. I have learned it is better to say something like “Let’s meet the 2nd Saturday of each month for breakfast”. Who knows if I can keep that appointment every time? But if I can’t, it becomes something I then more naturally reschedule.
  • If the friend is long distance, I invest a little time and money now and again, say once a year, to travel to him or invite him to come to me. I treat it like a retreat with a friend. We do a lot of guy stuff, usually involving watching sports, but there’s also plenty of time to invest in each other’s lives.
  • I use technology a lot to nudge my buddies. If I find myself standing in a line, I will send a quick text to one of my guys. I also send out a whole bunch of two-sentence emails. It might be an encouraging word or a verse or an excerpt of an article or sermon that might help them. More often, I have nothing at all important to say. Really what I am doing is letting me know that they are important enough to me that they just came to my mind.

To any Hurricane Hunks or Cyclone Clods reading this, I encourage you to spend time to both create and deepen friendships with other men. You’ll find these friendships make you a better husband, dad, and most importantly, follower of Christ.

I Assumed

I Assumed

Back in December I made a mistake. I’m sure I made more than one. But this one hit me in the head.

Every December for many years I have spent one evening out with a group of friends. We exchange gifts, talk about the year past and the year coming. We laugh. And cry sometimes.

This year most of December flew by, and I had not heard from anyone about setting up our usual December outing. So I sat down to write a quick email.

See, I had figured things out.

I assumed that I had not heard from anyone because they were all too busy this year. I figured it this way. Karen had a new job, a busy husband, and two busy teenagers with lots of Christmas concerts. Karyn had piles upon piles of papers to grade at the semester’s end added to a trip home to see piles and piles of nieces and nephews. Melody had lots of Bible Study Fellowship commitments as well as teenage kid activities and a busy husband.

I assumed finding a time together would add to their stress levels. Didn’t want to do that. So I suggested, in my “I’ve-figured-it-all-out” email, that we move our December tradition to January.

Their response? No! Everyone weighed in with some version of, “I look forward to this every year. I want to do it.”

We eventually settled on a night (after about 20 emails), and I offered to pick everyone up. As I chauffeured my friends to the restaurant, I apologized for my “I’ve-got-you-figured-out” attitude.

On the way home, after good food, good conversations, and a small gift exchange, I said, “I really like our time together. I would like to do this on a regular basis. Like every month. Could we pick a day and just put it on the calendar? Whoever can come, comes.”

These women challenge me, encourage me, strengthen my faith, make me laugh, and help me keep perspective. I need them in my life on a regular basis. Despite busy schedules and changes in life stages.

I refused to drop anyone off at home until we settled on a monthly day and time. Oh the power of being a chauffeur! We landed on dinner out the second Friday of every month.

We have had one Friday together. With many more to come.

So, Dear Reader, do you have a friendship (or friendships) that needs a bit of a tweak? Perhaps you have a friend whom you long to see but just haven’t connected because of schedules. What will you do about it?

Sports

But I’m an Introvert!

Author Susan Cain describes me so well in her book Quiet (page 11).

“Introverts . . . may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.”

So true! I loved a recent neighborhood party, but I came home and needed a large dose of quiet. In my pajamas. In the basement.

I often wrestle internally with the introvert/extrovert thing. Do I push myself to spend more time with people? Do I push myself to walk into a room of people I don’t know and strike up a conversation? Or do I say to myself,  “I’m an introvert. I can just keep company with myself”?

Something keeps pushing me toward people. My favorite book. The more I read the Bible, the more I see the great strength in connection. I see it in stories of people who tried to go it alone and crashed and burned, and I see it in stories of people who chose community and thrived.  I see it in the life of Jesus.

What about you?

Check out this short quiz from author Susan Cain: http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/about-the-book/quiet-quiz-are-you-an-introvert/

image004

A Storm? What Storm?

Here in Illinois tornadoes appear frequently and devastate randomly. I respect them. And so I head for the basement when I see or hear the warning signs . . . well . . . usually.

One night my husband and I woke to the sound of our teenage daughter knocking on our door: “We have a tornado warning! What should we do?” We should have jumped out of bed and rushed for the basement. We should have grabbed some bottled water and a flashlight on the way. We should have turned on the radio. Instead, one of us muttered, “It is okay. Just go back to sleep.”

Sadly, I often take a similar approach to the storms of life. If I don’t react to this difficulty, maybe it will just go away. And, truthfully, I often go back to bed.

What would happen if I—if we all—took more of a tornado-aware approach to life? What if when the storms come, rather than trying to downplay them, we instead gathered those we love and headed for shelter? Together. What if when the storms come, we could turn to a store of ready provisions, including friends and faith?

What do you think?