I’ve spent the last two days hanging out with my family and a couple of friends. It’s been slightly surreal seeing the small city (Rockford, IL) that I grew up in for the first 18 years of my life. It’s not the first time that I returned to be with my family after a stint in Hong Kong. It’s just I’ve really adjusted to life in Hong Kong over the last five years, and my visit seems to be affecting me more than usual.
I’ve decided I’m unofficially experiencing culture shock in my own country and culture. Weird.
Fortunately, there are a few people that are keeping my stable. One in particular is my friend Garret Balcitis. He’s a childhood friend that’s stuck around in my life through thick and thin. No matter how long that we’re apart, we’re able to pick back up – not where we left off, but rather where we currently are.
We took a road trip around the city and parked near the Rock River for an afternoon of catching up and encouraging each other. While there we talked about our lives, families, and ministries. It was a fantastic afternoon, and I feel recharged.
What’s even cooler is that Garret is just another guy. His friendship, though amazing, is nothing compared to the type of relationship that God wants to have with me and everyone else. He is more faithful than I can imagine, and I thank God for his steadfastness and His unchanging Spirit. Praise be to Him from whom all blessings flow.
This is not a post about good versus bad people.
we tell jokes
Instead, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have good, solid, male friendships. I feel like I’m coming full circle in the way that I relate to other guys. Growing up, I was very comfortable with hanging out with other dudes – letting our guards down, acting weird, and being very real in conversation.
And then I got to know a girl. And then another. And another…
real men sit in tandem
In spite of the wonderful time I spent with my previous girlfriends, girls (as a whole) took away some prime portions of my life. I’m married now, and my wife is complimenting me in ways I never could’ve dreamed (Thank you Kristin). However, before marriage, my time spent with other girls really detracted from my male friendships, and I’m beginning to see the way it affected me deeply and negatively.
But the only reason that I’m noticing is because I’ve finally redeveloped some healthy, male friendships.Many male leaders in the Bible had them: Moses had Aaron, Joshua had Caleb, David had Jonathan, Paul had Barnabas, and Jesus had his very own band of brothers.
There are plenty of precedents to present a case that all men need at least one regular guy in their life to keep them accountable, provide encouragement, and generally have some fun.
I’m glad to have some good guys in my life. I can almost sense that my life is a bit more balanced in some areas due to these friendships. Now I just have to maintain these solid “guy times” while also prioritizing quality time with my wife! Easier said than done…