Relationships are disrupted in today's world, often by a failure to communicate--as the 1967 movie "Cool Hand Luke" put it. When I was well into my midlife, I was a great communicator on subjects like work, sports, and weather, but my father had taught me talking about my emotions or my inner thoughts was either for women or selfish. After being a workaholic for twenty-five years, I realized the only way I could seek a better balance in my life was to go cold turkey and I retired early.
A few years later, my son Tristan came home one night and said, "Tomorrow I'll be twenty-one, so Dad, what makes a man?" Something told me not to be flippant, but all I knew then was there was more to a man than just work, but what? Some quick research showed me there was no way I could speak for what makes all other men, only what made me. I asked him if I could get back to him and he said "sure."
It took fifteen years, beginning after leaving work with caring for my father who had developed Alzheimer's disease, followed by ongoing, grace-filled moments that initiated my education of the spiritual, emotional and relational aspects of my life. I eventually replied to my son by writing a memoir named after his question.
Two years ago Luis Canales, Lloyd Guerin and I created a men's workshop at the Cenacle we call A Walking Tour of Male Spirituality, based on my memoir. It provides a safe and trustworthy environment for men to practice talking about their own lives, in a community that recognizes each man is worthy of being heard and retains the responsibility to freely direct his own life. The objective is to get better at building something greater than ourselves through our personal relationships with others and God. It consists of ten two-hour sessions on Thursday nights, and begins again at the Cenacle on January 21, 2016. See programs and retreats to register online or call 281-497-3131 Ext. 112
Husband, father, grandfather, Cenacle spiritual director, Argentine tango dancer,
and, author of So Dad, What Makes a Man? : A Narrative on the Male Identity