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.