Ever had those life experiences as a dad where you got recommended or volunteered for a project (and you said “Yes”) and you thought it might be easier than expected, but ended up being much bigger than you bargained for? Wait a minute – I think that our wedding vows went kinda like that! Well, I had one of those moments recently where there was a huge need in our area surrounding a recently divorced lady that had to move into a new home. The scope was much less than expected so I was able to eagerly recruit a few men from church to chip in, thinking we’d fill up a little U-Haul and be done by lunch, same day.
Well, it didn’t exactly pan out like that. So I’m gonna tell you the story, but I’m not gotta give you a choice here – the Bad News first!
The Bad: When we got there, it was evident that this would take multiple trips back and forth using the largest U-Haul truck in existence, using the backs and arms of two to four men. Daunting. Buyer’s remorse. What did I get into? As we got there, we were all looking at each other – knowing what the others were thinking and then verbally saying it. How could a family of three accumulate so much stuff? In fact, by the time new guys showed up after lunch on the second day (yes, 2nd day) of the move and two loads were already loaded and moved – even they were astounded at what was left.
The Ugly: This lady not only had a husband up and leave her with a huge house to move on her own, but she was in financial need. I am astonished to say this man was a church minister as well. Unbelievable example. I learned the son was doubting church, God, men – you name it. Tough stuff for a teenager to experience. To boot, a couple days before the scheduled move, the lady hit her head and suffered a concussion. It was evident when we spoke that she was in no condition to do anything at all. She tried to direct us in what to move, then some things got “changed” during the move, etc.
So, will I ever volunteer to do this kind of thing again? Yes…I’ll tell you why.
The Good: I got to serve someone in need. Period. As I have recently been probing my “Story” for strengths, one of my three Core Strengths is “Compassionate Supporter – I enjoy helping others do tasks that most would rather not do or uncertain of how to do in order to be successful.” Even after a day and a half into this and my left knee was killing me, it was hard to leave. Things were unfinished, more was needed here for completion and I wanted to see this through.
Another Bonus: I got to meet and get to know other Godly men better during this time. The night before it was just Tony and I. I learned we are the same age, have the same upbringings of sorts and I swear we must have had the same dad. Uncanny how alike they were. I appreciated his work ethic and handiwork in getting things done. His plan in organizing that U-Haul worked out fabulously well. In addition, he had to go to work early the next morning as well. Amazing example.
The following day, I met up with an old friend Dave and two new guys to me, Nathan and Tom. All these guys “brought it”. They weren’t there to eat donuts. No sir. In riding in the truck back and forth between the move, I got to know Nathan a lot. It was refreshing to hear his own story, growing up on a Minnesota farm, now working as an HR professional at Coca-Cola. We talked about the family unit being under attack from all aspects and the work of good folks to produce movies like “Courageous”. He said it had the fathers crying in the theatre. I haven’t seen it, but I will now!
I had never met Tom before, but he brought an eagerness to see the move through. He stuck it all day, never wavering. And all of these men had never met this woman before in their lives, but willingly stepped up to help. What I want to say here is that I did benefit from helping out in a tough situation and got to know some fine men better as well. I learned more about all of them and really hope our paths cross in the future (but maybe not at a huge move!). They are GOOD men.
So, let me say that when a situation presents itself, try to look for the good in it. Yes, you are here to set an example for others, but many times we benefit ourselves from unpleasant experiences. We grow. We meet other good men and make lifelong connections. We learn something new that can be used later. We end up having some fun joking around.
Do Good in the face of the Bad and Ugly.