Busy men always discover the elixir of a momentary break from the heavy responsibilities of their work. Getting away into the country, the woods or the lake can do wonders to rejuvenate the male soul. Hardworking men also learn that joining other men to find that relief is very effective.
It has been three years since I have been able to pal around with a special group of Michigan friends. My life took a surprising turn when I was recruited to my present position of higher education. The newness of the position and the long list of responsibilities were great so I stayed close to my job for two years. Finally, it was time to reconnect with great guys.
Describing the men that I shared a few days of adventures on the plains, in the mountains and through the woods is simple. They are a collection of different kinds of bucks. A men’s retreat described like a herd of wild animals is saying that they are just a bunch of guys.
There are the young bucks who hurried into the cabin. They are a lot of fun, full of energy, always moving, taking on new challenges no matter what the risks. When it is time to eat they have a voracious appetite that defies the possible space of a normal human stomach.
Then, there are the seasoned bucks. Their greying hair or loss of it identify them. They move slower. But, their deliberate speed is not to be confused with weakness. There is an ancient Chinese proverb: “Age and treachery will always win over youth and inexperience.”
The dominant buck is the one who speaks and everyone stops to listen, both young and seasoned alike. He gives direction, outlines the rules and cheers on the accomplishments of the recent activities. While dominant he is the hardest working, doing whatever it takes to insure that all of the other bucks enjoy their time away from busy lives.
Then, there is the most favorite buck of all. All of the bucks know him. He gives fodder for years of stories to be retold and redacted. He is the “little buck”.
From him comes the lesson for all men going to retreat with other men: Don’t make a mistake or the other bucks will never let you live it down. It is all in good fun. God has given each of us His amazing grace and the joy of being eternally forgiven so we in turn give that gift of forgiveness to our brothers from different mothers.
photo credit: brucefong friend photography