This week I had the privilege of celebrating my son Drew. Drew is growing up to be a very fine young man and I planned to do something with just him. Drew is a few weeks from his 16th birthday. I am so proud of him and want to recognize his good choices and introduce him to some other men that I look up to and have shared deep friendship for many years. So we travelled to Aspen Colorado for a long weekend. These men are three of the men that have invested a weekend of retreat, reflection and planning for 16 years together.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry immediately following His baptism by John, God the Father announced from heaven “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased”. God provided His affirmation and blessing on His Son in a public way. So I also was pleased to present my son to these men. I shared with Drew the characteristics of these men that I admired and allow each of these men to speak a word of affirmation and encouragement to Drew. I really had no formal agenda or ceremony, but allowed it to happen naturally over the 3 days we were together.
We stayed with one of my friends with his family and he really went out of his way to roll out the red carpet to maximize our ski time and make us comfortable. What a privilege to invite us into their home and let Drew experience their family and witness another family committed to following the truth of Jesus in their lives and in their community. We could not have picked better days to ski. We knew we had hit it right when all the locals were taking the day off to get the 8” of fresh powder. We had 3 days of great snow, no lines and even got what the locals call a “bluebird day” of clear blue skies. What a blessing! Following our second day of skiing our friends invited us to hike to the top of Buttermilk mountain at sunset and swiss bob down. If there was a right of passage test this was it. We hiked for over an hour straight up to the top. The sunset was beautiful, but the ride down was CRAZY! Sitting on 12 square inches of plastic like a bob sledder flying down the mountain totally out of control and mostly blind from snow. What a blast!
When you try to think of all the things you want to share in a time like this it can be intimidating so we let the conversations happen and the circumstances direct our discussions. I don’t think I could have planned or scripted a richer time together. Some of our discussions flowed from a book that I received in a Christmas gift exchange that I had not idea how well it work for stimulating meaningful ideas. The following are a few highlights from The River by Michael Neale that served as great food for thought and good advice for a young man.
- We are made for so much more than we often realize. Don’t settle for what is familiar or safe. We cannot let our fear of the unknown hold us back. The only true joy and fulfillment in life comes from living out our purpose and destiny in the greater story of life.
- We were not made to walk alone. We were made to journey together.
- When I am weak, I need another to help me go on. When someone else needs help, I need to get out of myself and do what I can to lift the load.
- Connect with things bigger than you. It’s part of what makes life beautiful. If you stay connected only to that which is small enough for you to understand and control then you have nothing. – no adventure, no destiny, and no purpose.
- The pursuit of “things” can get in the way of what life is all about.
- Dare to leave the safety of what you’ve always known for a better place…a place you were destined from the beginning.
- Life is not merely to be survived – it is meant to be lived.
- You are here for a reason. Don’t ever think you’re not vitally important to the mission. Whether you are doing a big job or a very low job do your best.
- Yesterday is gone and you cannot change it. There are no guarantees for tomorrow, so save it. The best stuff is now, so live today and don’t dare waste it.
- True love can and will bring out the very best in us.
- Live with adventure! Love with abandon! And to be Loved!
As John baptized Jesus, God the Father blessed His son and proclaimed His pleasure in sharing Him with the world. So are we Fathers to have the great privilege to introduce our sons and give them our blessing. This is my son in whom I am well pleased.