There is that man who has been the dad of kids who are really somebody else’s kids. But they never doubt for one minute that he thinks of them as “his”.
And the man whose students believe they are real artists – because he tells them they are every day.
There’s the man who I’m pretty sure is an introvert – married to a social more-than-butterfly – who quietly, consistently, and faithfully supports and escorts her all about town because he loves her.
The burly, shaved-headed tattoo artist who prayed, “God, show me what I can do to serve and bless people.” And God told him to cover the “ownership” marks of human traffickers – for free. And he does.
The man who joins his wife and kids to play with babies in the church nursery while their mamas and daddies get to worship and listen with no distractions.
The guy who balanced the air pressure in our tires on the most bitter night, just before closing. For nothing.
And then there is the pastor who broke all the rules and baptized the homeless man anyway. The shepherd who affirmed and blessed the ragamuffin who showed up without attending the baptism “classes”, whose name was not on the list, who fought back tears as he told the story of his own faith journey and his family’s rocky road to this day they’d been waiting for.
And then there’s Doyne. He was Cindy’s husband. They personified the couple we aspire to be – he adored her and cherished every minute they were together. And everybody knew it.
And Jack. My dad. A man of integrity and humility, who lived a life honoring Jesus in every way.
Andy is my daughter’s husband – the love of her life. They call him House. He is strong and selfless. He meets people exactly where they are, gently tells the hard truth when they need to hear it – and then supports them if they want to make changes for the better. I don’t know anyone like him.
Of course, there’s Bill, my daughter’s dad who died way too young. And, although he could not live with his other four children, he was the most devoted father I’ve ever known. A man who took the heat at the office so that “his guys” were spared, and kept every single promise. A man who smirked a bit about some of his childhood shenanigans but was never smug or haughty about the indiscretions or mistakes of others. A husband, father, friend and leader in every way.
And Tim. My husband of almost twenty years. The one who embraced my complicated family as his own and lavished on them his natural generosity and support. Just as he continues to do with those who are seriously under-resourced as well as those who just need just a temporary boost. He works hard at a job that beats him down most days. He loves me, goofball that I am. And I have no reason to believe he won’t continue to be the man he’s always been. I love him.
Good golly, I could go on and on.
But today, I wanted to introduce you to a few men I know or have known, who may or may not have a past they don’t want to talk about but who would tell you the truth if you asked. These men put their pants on one leg at a time, wake to an early alarm, and often eat a lunch from a cooler or brown bag. They make “daily” look easy and roll with the punches as much and as long as they can.
They are men who consistently face reality head on, admit their mistakes, ask forgiveness, and do the best they can.
They are men with human bodies but eternal souls. They have unlikely and unrecognized super-powers like loyalty, kindness, humility, and promise-keeping.
They are not perfect, nor do they claim to be.
They are fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, granddads, neighbors, boyfriends, sons-in-law, and co-workers. They live everyday lives right there with us and we don’t question for a minute their motives or faithfulness.
Oh, my lovelies, I hope you have a list just like mine. I hope you have a whole team of strong and normal and talented and remarkably unremarkable men with whom you share the world in big and small ways.
I hope you know plenty of men – and women – who will never show up on CNN or FOX.
And that, my friends, would be the best news of all.