Past the hard shell finish, (the façade that men erect to hide life’s pain and disappointment), there exists in most men, a gentile loving spirit. It stays well hidden, because most men think that a display of softness shows weakness, especially among other men. Judge this if you must, but for some reason it is the way men have developed. An understanding of this one concept will help to see beyond that tough exterior. Just as I try and understand a man by his deeds, I would hope that most men would try to walk his talk. Even so, sometimes we might have to pay close attention in order to see their work. For instance…
I have several neighbors who drive old pickup trucks and cars, yet their wives all drive new ones. I wonder why?
I remember that tired roughneck leaning against the boot-rack. He was finished his twelve-hour tour hitch and is oily-grime and sweat from head to foot. Before he takes off his boots he slowly and deliberately re-duck tapes the leaking cracks. He wants them to last just one more day. Why?
I’ve seen dog-tired Mexican men in the heat of high noon singing in loud passion! With a genuine smile they told me that it is a love song. “Amour!” Love is their reason for being, and they are thankful for their work, and revel in the gift of life. Before supper they will pause in the galley by the Madonna and Child statue to pray and give thanks.
On our rig island, great hulking men will sit on plastic trash bags while having lunch, (so as not to dirty the chair with their work clothes), and will pause for a silent prayer before eating. They close their eyes and bow their heads, and it brings a hush over those who don’t. It’s a powerful moment.
There are men who can stand straight and tall while being judged or ridiculed for an opinion or a stand they take. They take the condescension or reprimand by the strength of their responsibilities. I’ve seen open smiles through pain, and men who have made the conscious choice to forgive their enemies for the sake of those they love.
Men’s eyes will light up in the quiet times as they show you worn and faded pictures of children and grandchildren from their wallet. They will point to each in turn, beaming as they tell you how quickly they are growing.
Some see the tender spirit of the “Watchtower Lady” and will buy every one of her pamphlets, and though they know they will never read them, they can never throw them away.
When the chips are down, men will willingly risk everything, even their own life for an idea, like freedom, liberty, and justice. Countless men have made this sacrifice, so their children could know these things. There are survivors of many war horrors, but the memories are kept locked deep inside, away from the tender hearts they protect.
Some men put their trust in God, and His strength flows in their arms, and though some choose not to, all will bend to the touch of a soft grandchild’s hand. They will give their love unselfishly, with conviction, and trust.
I have known men who maintain that love is the greatest of God’s gifts and the strongest force on earth. Men will climb mountains because of it, touched by the spirit in their hearts, and in its warm embrace, tackle every day with fresh faith. Willingly, men will sacrifice security, their health, even go to certain death for the righteousness found in their hearts, with love as their guiding force. And then, while kneeling in the dust of life’s loss and destruction, men will pick up worn out tools and start again. Pain and loss clings to the hope that only love can give to men…