“The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.” (Thomas Carlyle)
Allen. A word that comes off my lips probably twenty times a day. A word that sometimes is surrounded by love and other times by frustration. A word like no other in my life. A word that encompasses kindness unlike I’ve known before, integrity that quietly makes a profound statement, humility that lifts others up and spirituality that is deep and genuine.
This morning I was reminded that “we could use a hefty dose of uplifting stuff when it comes to men during this very important #metoo revolution.” (Shelby Spear) I was encouraged to share the story of fine men in my life.
I have one of the #goodguys as my partner for this journey. I’ve struck gold in the landscape of life. This man, who I’ve known for 28+ years just keeps getting better and better. He’s the best gift I’ve ever been given. And he gave me four more gifts in our incredible children, as qualities I see growing in them reflect who their dad is.
Allen embodies the spirit of “being kind over being right” (and thank God for that, because I like being right just a little too much). I watch it play out in quiet moments with close friends and strangers alike. He is considerate to both immediate family and the homeless that wander the streets of New York City. Co-workers who spend every day with him and the poor who don’t have access to clean water benefit from his heart of benevolence. His gracious spirit permeates his times with his partners in ministry and the engaged couples we minister to together. As you can see, his kindness is genuine, often and without boundaries.
Integrity is the suit of armor Allen puts on every single day. He does “the right thing even when no one is watching.” I would know. I live with the guy. He doesn’t cheat on his taxes, on his expense sheet at work, or me. He is the same person in the morning at work, in a board meeting at our church, on a weekend with the guys, and our family at home. I trust him completely and utterly. What a gift!
I struggle with thinking I’m better than everyone else (#notabigsurprise). I know. I’m working on it. And one of the reasons I’m working on it is because of this man named Allen who shows genuine humility. He embodies #iamsecond (I think there needs to be a cute video about him). I want to be seen and heard. He wants others to be seen and heard, including me. He’s the biggest reason why I started this blog. He wants my voice out there. He actually, deep-down-inside, believes that others are valuable and takes the role of a servant much of the time even though he is a highly successful business man with mad skills. You can find him washing the dishes, folding the laundry, performing menial, unseen tasks no one else wants to do and never expecting the notice and applause of others. I am so blessed!
My favorite thing about Allen, and probably why he’s all those other things, is that he is deeply spiritual. His inner life matters more to him than his outward persona. He seeks God with ferocity. He spends time in prayerful solitude in all kinds of places (the woods, his favorite chair in our family room, the airport as he’s waiting for a flight). He seeks wise counsel with me as we work to have a better marriage and partnership for this journey. He has a group of male friends called the Muckmeisters who meet every other week to encourage and be encouraged along their inner journeys. We share our lives with a group of couples where Allen is vulnerable and open with his struggles and successes. He voraciously reads anything he can get his hands on (at our local library because he is an accountant and keeps our money under control) that will help him on his path to becoming spiritually and emotionally whole. He is the real deal!!
Allen is not perfect by any means. No one is. That’s what makes this post even more precious to me! I spend a lot of time thinking about and dwelling on all the things he is not, the ways I wish he was different. But today, I am shouting for all to hear the things that HE IS, the parts of him that are his truest self.
To my boys: you have a great father. I don’t want you to be him. I want you to be yourselves. I want you to see, by Dad’s example, that you can be your truest, best selves in all that God made you to be. You are already great men and I can’t wait to post about you too in the not-so-distant future, because you are also two of the #goodguys! And a lot of the reason you are is because of the amazing dad that you have.
To my girls: you have a great father. He has been more than enough for you and taught you what a #goodguy is. Sarah, you have chosen wisely and have one of the #goodguys yourself. Maybe you should write a post about him! And now you have a son who you will raise to be one of those #goodguys! How blessed they both are to have you as their wife and mom. Rachel, you are still to choose. I know you will choose well. I pray that both of you would be a huge source of light and encouragement to this amazing “other half” of our world.
To the men out there in this tumultuous time, where the foundation of male and female is being rocked to its core, I want to say thank you to the #goodguys, the ones who are fighting against the #metoo atrocity alongside of women, the ones who embody what is right and good about being a man. There are so many of you! You are amazing! You are to be celebrated! I share my life with three of the best of you! Keep doing what you are doing, making our worlds better places! I see you! I salute you!
To us women: we are on shaky ground too. Let’s continue to fight for a firm foundation. Let’s think about every one of those #goodguys in our lives and give them a big shout-out. In a time where we are glorifying the bad behavior of a few men, let’s speak the truth about the #goodguys we sojourn with! Let’s expose them as the light they are! Let’s share anywhere we possibly can and use the hashtag (if your sharing is on social media) #goodguys! We’ve got to get the word out together! And maybe, just maybe, our world and our families will be just a little better because of it!
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