Recently a friend of mine told me he was going in for surgery into the hospital. I offered to pray for him. He looked at me with eager and hopeful eyes which told me about the joy of my offer to him and the fear of the challenge ahead. The prospect of going under the knife myself, sent a shiver down my back. It is downright scary.
You are totally in the hands of other men. What can you do? An anaesthetist is paid a lot of money to keep you sleeping so you don’t feel the pain. Having said that, when is sleep too much sleep?
I can remember when I had a small skin cancer cut out of my neck. I wasn’t out cold. Just a local anaesthetic. It was weird to feel the scalpel go into my neck whilst the Doctor engaged in small talk as if nothing was happening. The surgeon cut out the malignant cells which were no bigger than half a match head and sewed me back up without hardly blinking.
I mourned the loss of my malignancy even though its continued presence could well have killed me. Every man treasures his own skin and he does not want to lose it. After all he lives in it and it keeps him from falling apart.
Falling apart was not an option last weekend with John Eldredge and his team. I attended the Wild at Heart three day men’s bootcamp last weekend with four hundred eager and hopeful souls. John Eldredge wrote the New York times bestseller “Wild at Heart.” As I said in last week’s newsletter, Wild at Heart is still the number one book on Amazon on Men’s Gender Studies and male spirituality.
Wild at Heart is still #1, after almost 18 years, for a reason. John Eldredge is not a Doctor of Medicine, but he certainly is a doctor to the human heart. John’s specialty is open heart surgery without anaesthetic. He does this by sharing his own journey of manhood and he shows his favourite movie clips to validate the truth of the story to the gathered audience.
All the while the scalpel is cutting deep and sometimes it is hard to hold back the tears. It is all surprisingly powerful.
After all, why are movies like Mel Gibson’s Brave Heart, and Bruce Willis’s The Kid, so relevant to our story of growing up as under-fathered men in a very broken world? Why does the story of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, “It’s not Your Fault” touch one so deeply? The saying, “the truth always hurts”, comes to mind.
As if this is not enough, John Eldredge then showed a clip to illustrate “The Poser” from Good Will Hunting which David Schroeder explains well:
“The bar/confrontation scene from Good Will Hunting (1998) is one of my favourite movie scenes because it reveals something uncomfortable about us; we are all posers. In the scene, Will Hunting played by Matt Damon and his friends, who are from a poor part of South Boston decide one night to visit a Harvard bar.
After Will’s friend played by Ben Affleck attempts to pick up some girls, he is confronted by an arrogant Michael Bolton look-a-like Harvard graduate student. The graduate student begins to taunt Affleck’s character in front of the ladies by showing off his supposed knowledge of early American History. The scene is full of class-tension but underneath there is something deeper; a man’s authenticity is being challenged.”
The scalpel got sharper still at the bootcamp. We had to go and find a quite spot in the adjacent wilderness for 30 minutes in enforced voluntarily silence and answer four penetrating questions. In the vernacular it is called, “do it yourself surgery.” Please answer them if you are able. I struggled.
- How do you as a man see yourself posing?
- How would others describe you?
- What do you hope they would say?
- What do they fear they would say?
Love is the most powerful force in the universe and yet love requires truth for its full operation. As men we have many fig leaves we pose behind. For some of us it is work, for others it is sport. The list is long, pornography, drugs, drink, gambling, food and success are just some of the hundreds of fig leaves we all hide behind.
I did struggle to answer the above questions. It is really hard to be honest, especially when being a bull artist comes as naturally as it does to me. But it doesn’t mean we should not try.
We all mourn the loss of our malignant cells of self-deceit even though their continued presence will most likely kill us and our relationships. Sometimes the “do it yourself surgery” is the best way to get rid of “the poser” in us all.
“To thine own self be true.” is a quote by William Shakespeare. The full quote is better, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Our children need dads that they can look up to who are both truthful and totally free. As a great man once said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
I will let you answer the above four questions yourself. If you struggle I will have to forgive you, as I struggled too!
PS: FREE OFFER – John Eldredge and the Wild at Heart Team from Colorado, USA are giving a wonderful FREE GIFT to men here in Australia and around the world.
If you want to gather a small group of guys in your area and facilitate a ‘Wild at Heart BASIC’ Bootcamp via video you can do it for FREE.
The Wild at Heart Bootcamp is a profoundly spiritual experience. It is a four-day quest (one night, two full Days and one half-day) into the recovery of a man’s masculine soul, the release of a man’s heart—his passions and his true nature—all given him by God.
Written on every man’s heart is a yearning for adventure, battle, and a beauty. ‘Wild at Heart BASIC’ is an invitation to find your true self and become the man you were meant to be.
To attend this life changing event over the 4 day period and hear this content for yourself by John Eldredge and his team usually costs several hundred dollars. The Bootcamps are very popular and they are often booked out. The fact that John and his team are prepared to give the ‘Wild at Heart BASIC’ away for FREE is extraordinary.