Manhood and Chainsaws

Followers of TheBuddyBlog.com:

Years ago, a friend of mine was quoted as saying, “Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads were not paved.” 

There is a lot of truth in that statement.  It reminded me that I initially started writing personal reflections (and later TheBuddyBlog.com) in an attempt to impart a little wisdom, wisdom gained from traveling on a few of those unpaved roads.

Following an ice storm in 2014, I was prompted to write yet another reflection, one titled “Manhood and Chainsaws.”  My comments, then as now, were not meant to draw attention to something I had done or said but rather encourage those I love to navigate life’s potholes and follow the straight and narrow roads.

The reflection struck a nerve and generated a number of responses.  Here’s a sampling:

    • Thanks for reminding me of what men need to do.  Now, excuse me while I go start my tractor.”
    • “Amen!  P.S., when I sold my landscape business, I sold all the equipment…except three chainsaws.”
    • “Thanks, Buddy.  I sent this on to my favorite men.”
    • “We need more teaching about Christian manhood!”
    • “Substitute a few words and your mission list could be a guide for women too!”
    • “If you DO know a man that dreams of and wakes ready to use his chainsaw – please send him to my house.”   (Single female)

I am publishing it for the first time on TheBuddyBlog.com.  Hope you enjoy it.

Buddy

Manhood and Chainsaws

I awoke the morning of Wednesday, February 12th, 2014, to a sheet of ice gripping the surrounding landscape. The silence across the neighborhood signaled that no one, including myself, had decided to foolishly attempt to navigate the now traction-less roadways to work.  Weather reports had warned of a possible catastrophic ice storm, but local damage proved minor.  However, I soon discovered one of my very tall pine trees had fallen across the street and now blocked some 70 neighbors from leaving the subdivision…should anyone foolishly try.

I quickly changed clothes, pulled my chainsaw from its case, and gingerly made my way down the hill — known as my front yard — to remove this unwelcome barrier. The police arrived and advised that the Fire Department had been notified but was unsure when they would be able to navigate the icy surface of Highway 138. Pulling the cord, my chainsaw roared to life, and my good neighbor efforts began. A neighbor soon walked up to offer assistance.  We had removed about half of the tree when some of Rockdale County’s finest arrived. A twenty-something firefighter approached with his chainsaw in hand and asked if he could help. My ego, aching back, and arthritic knee huddled for a quick negotiation lasting milliseconds. My ego lost in a 2-1 vote, and I wisely stepped aside.

Later I emailed a picture of the fallen tree to my children. One daughter responded with the quote of the day. “Go Dad!!! Every man’s dream…to wake up and have an excuse to use a chainsaw!” How true, how true. What guy doesn’t enjoy seeing his chainsaw cut through Georgia pine like the proverbial hot knife through butter. Chainsaw roaring loud, sawdust spewing forth, tree limbs ripping apart, all hail testosterone, all hail.

It really did feel good…that is until my back and knees reminded me of my age.

But……..

Long after the sonic roar of the chainsaw had died, my daughter’s words kept ringing in my ears. At first, they produced a chuckle, then they prompted a reflection. Being a man is much more than roaring engines and spewing sawdust. I don’t really dream about waking up and finding an excuse to use my chainsaw, do I? As a man, what should my daily mission be, what should I be dreaming, aspiring to do with each new breaking dawn?

Being a man, the kind of man that God created me to be is a daily challenge and, hopefully, an unceasing pursuit of authentic manhood. I have learned over the years, mostly through my failures, that being the husband and father I need to be, happens by design, not luck. Is it possible or advisable for men to be able to articulate their own personal mission statement?  I think so. 

In 1996 I developed such a statement. I have referenced it in previous blog posts, but I think it is worth sharing again.  It took me a few weeks to develop, but this list became more than just a framed print upon my desk.  To this day, it still guides my thinking and actions.  I consider it a guiding light, my North Star, and my creed.

  • Be a man of integrity
  • Walk humbly before God
  • Pursue wisdom and understanding above riches
  • Serve my wife and children
  • Gain the love and respect of those who know me best
  • Develop a thankful spirit
  • Invest in people, not things
  • Place a greater value on things eternal
  • Regret not the loss of things temporal
  • Recognize and Enjoy the simple pleasures of life

Oh, how I wish I had made such a list at a younger age. I share it again on TheBuddyBlog.com  as part of a challenge to develop your own. It may take days, weeks, even months before your version is final. Nevertheless, start, dream, act.

Then one day, you may awake, and a child of yours will proclaim, “Go Dad!!! Every man’s dream…to wake up and live like a real man!”  

Now excuse me, I have to sharpen my chainsaw.

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