We do life, it just goes along….. the in’s and outs, the to do list, money to make, bills to pay, food to buy/prepare/eat, things to fix, information to gather, decisions to be made, people to love, and then in the middle of it all these moments happen. Those beautiful, unexpected perfect moments when there is nothing you would rather be doing and no place you would rather be. I love those moments, I’ve got my eye out for them. You can’t make them happen, they just do. You cant take a picture of them because if you did you would ruin the moment. Just the fact that you reached for the camera shows that you didn’t understand that you were in the moment. Being in the moment is the definition of happiness.
Our family has been traveling across western Europe for the last two months. We have seen all the biggies, wonderful, beautiful, and glorious art, buildings, bridges, battle fields, monuments, mountain ranges, castles, waterfalls, cathedrals, natural wonders, oceans, palaces, modern marvels, and ancient ruins. We have tasted fantastic food, smelled the roses at Versilles, heard the bells of the cattle in the Alps and the bells at Notre Dame. We’ve seen red coats with bear skin hats march in the changing of the guard, floated in the Mediterranean, and swam in the English channel. I could keep going, it’s an impressive list but what I want to capture is the moments. Its great see, to do, but what I’m always looking for is the moments. Those times when for a moment you’re not thinking about anything else but where you are, and what you’re doing. That is the most impressive list of all. Here’s my list of the those moments for us over the last several months:
Nicky Gumbel praying for me at Holy Trinity Brompton, the look on my kids faces as we rock climb over the ocean on the Costa Brava, having a coffee with my family with the sun shinning on our faces under the London Bridge, standing on the glass on the first level of the Eiffel Tower looking down the to the ground, eating fish and chips near Dover in a drizzling rain, being impacted once again by the glory and history of the Arch de Triomphe, standing in the presence of Psyche Revived and the Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre and finding myself in both, the broken, and the victorious. My happy laughing giggling kids as we zipped lined across the tree tops on the northern coast of Spain, crying with an Englishman at the London Tower as he explained that each porcelain poppy on the lawn of the castle represents each life that was lost in WW 1, laughing at each other as we had a singing contest one night up in the Alps, on my way to get croissants one moring in a French village when I came upon a reverent celebration of Armistace day and got all choked up, the beauty of my wife one morning in London, the glow on her face in Paris, the presence of God that came on our family as we sat on the grass at Stonehenge on a perfectly sunny day looking through the eye at the key stone, eating pizza and washing it down with raw milk on my son’s birthday up in the Alps as the sun set behind us, driving 100 mph plus through Germany, stumbling across one of the most fantastic waterfalls in the world inside of a rock covered gorge, sitting on the deck of the ferry on a fabulously perfect day looking back on the white cliffs of Dover with my arm around my wife, chanting at the top of my lungs in the stand up section of a local football match in lower England with my friend James and my two boys, soaking in the natural hot baths in Baden Baden Germany, eating raclette in a Chalet in the Alps, drinking a beer with my son in a cafe in Paris, resolving a massive fight with my wife in a beat up bathroom on the bad side of town in London, teaching my son to drive stick shift on the back roads in southern France, getting beat bad by my other son (13 yrs old) at chess, laying in the grass with a herd of cattle in Switzerland, laughing at our 5 year old at Versailles when she climbed to where a missing statue was and drew a crowd by standing like different statues, playing a pick up game of soccer with a group of kids from the village in spain and getting beat on a goal kick.
What I love about what we do on Monday night is that it’s one big moment, it happens every week. I know, because when I’m there, there is no place I would rather be, nothing I would rather be doing. Men’s lives are being forever changed, marriages healed, boys are becoming men and preparing for marriage. There is nothing like seeing a man get it once you gave up on him (this surprisingly happens to me all time, even after all these years). A man cry who never has, say something that he has never told anyone…….and to see the relief on his face that he wasn’t judged, or rejected for it. Seeing the peace that is on men who are pure, men who have confessed their sin, found forgiveness and recieved grace. There are regular priceless moments when a man finds what he has been looking for his whole life, friends. Someone to listen, to understand.
I keep coming to Mondays for the moments, they’re happening all around me, they are happening in me. I’m grateful, I’m at peace. I love what we do, and I love who we do it with. It’s messy, but it’s the most beautiful art in the world. I don’t want to be in the “I’m all better crowd” I don’t ever want to talk down to anyone like I got this figured out. I’m broken, I’m humpty dumpty, but a miracle has happened, I am getting put back together, oh so slowly. I love the process and the men involved in it.
Every form of sexual sin is an attempt to create a moment. It’s counterfeit to what you really need, to what you really want. Real life giving moments are preceded by purity. They are relational, with people, and with our God, they rarely happen alone. The healthier you get, the more moments you have, the more in the moment you are. Teach yourself to look for them, to hold on to them, to get yourself in places and in relationships that they happen. When they do, it’s a gift, a reward for your hard fought freedom. When there is no place you would rather be, you’re doing it right.