I did a men's retreat last weekend at Kenai Lake talking about "Intimate Male Relationships" and later that week was able to go back to spend the night with my two youngest boys at the cabin where we did the retreat.
Carving walking sticks. Skipping rocks. Talking about what it means to be a man. Having tender conversations about how their bodies are changing, marriage, adoption, sex, life, manhood, their stories, God's love for them, my love for them, why their legs burn when hiking a steep incline and how that makes their muscles grow. (I'm talking about the time with my boys -- not the men's retreat!).
Laying there on a big bed in the cabin with one boy on each side of me, heads nestled under each arm, each trying to get as close to me as they could . . . I had to walk into my own sadness and loneliness as I observed them drinking so deeply from an emotional, spiritual, and physical closeness with me I never experienced with my own absent dad. It was rich and wonderful. Sad and lonely. Glad.
We hiked . . .
We talked about what it means to persevere as a man when you want to quit . . .
We rested . . .
We explored . . .
We ate the food of being together . . .
And we celebrated!