When I graduated college, I left home. It was a reaction to long years of boyish living. At that point I had worked only one real job. It was a mostly a joke. I had a college degree for which I had not contributed one penny. I owned a string of fairly broken relationships and had cultivated a set of derailed dating experiences. And, when I entered into my final college winter, it all came crumbling down. I had been recruited into ministry leadership at a young age, where I had flown high with my childhood wounds buried deep. But then my life unraveled. I had to get away.
I traveled with two friends to 22 countries and spent seven months learning to survive in the largest urban centers and smallest villages our world has to offer. I came home the same boy, but something had just noticeably changed. I had left my mother and father and tasted the first herbs of poverty. True, I traveled on my grandmother’s inheritance, but I came home with priceless lessons about responsibility and self-care. Now, looking back over 5 years of marriage and 4 years of fatherhood, I see in myself an ongoing need to be initiated. Boyishness still lingers. I need more guidance into manhood. I eat up all the wisdom I find, seldom knowing what is true and what is false. I learn the hard way. I wonder: is there not something strong upon which I can build the foundations of my manhood? At this rate, I expect I will feel this way when I am 60. In my honest moments, I know that I measure short of this Son of Man who, on the evening before his capture, heroically faced betrayal, withstood blows to his face, swallowed unjust incarceration, and encountered deep rejection. When I look for my model of manhood in the image of the unjust crucifixion, I see a vision that wholly transcends what the people around me are doing and saying.