For years I couldn’t dream. I couldn’t laugh. I couldn’t cry. I could barely feel. Life required so much from me, I didn’t know how to do it. I was lost, hurting, and messing up.
In 2012, I described myself as a booster rocket. I would expend all I had, burn up as I pushed my family up and away from all the crap I had grown up with. I would launch them and fall back to earth, spent and wasted. It had a noble ring to it, but it reeked of self pity.
I thought that there was hope for them but not for me.
During the fall of 2013, I heard Dave Stevenson speak. This man got up and shared deeply and passionately about his process, his shame and pain. But, he spoke with a confidence and hope that stirred me.
Is it true?, I thought. How did he get there?
Screw it! If Dave Stevenson could do it, so could I. Two weeks later, I joined a group at ManAlive.
And life actually got harder before it got better. As I faced my issues and quit running from difficulty and pain, I was feeling more hurt than ever before. It sucked. I yelled at God. I pouted and went on long walks. I did my homework. I fought with my wife. I journaled a bunch trying to find words for my pain.
The grind was not fun and part of me wanted to quit. Was it worth it?
I could not have continued without seeing men like Dave Stevenson, Eli Leedy, and others crushing it week after week. Even their failures modeled a life wide open and alive. Their stories were hope for me. Hope that this process was temporary and that I could actually win. Jesus endured the Cross for the joy set before Him. Jesus had hope in the coming, joy that allowed him to dig in and endure.
I started grabbing onto the hope that the guys shared in the room. I could endure this present pain because I saw them push through into something more. There's more here than not messing up. I saw men starting their own companies. Other guys were getting pay raises and promotions because they were no longer passively plugging along in their jobs. Relationships improved, and even marriages were being restored. I saw dudes going after big dreams and coming fully alive. Who doesn’t want to ride a motorcycle across the country, or run with the bulls, or write a novel?
I saw men do amazingly well in difficult times, and it inspired me.
Around my second year in group, it finally dawned on me. I had hope. I was doing it. I wasn’t coping or merely getting by anymore. I was facing issues and doing what needed to be done. I was living… I was ALIVE!
So here is my personal message to you.
I have so much hope for you. You are in the right place. Look at the lives changed, listen to their stories. You can feel the hope in this room, in these blogs and podcasts. Grab onto it.
This hope is for you.