Inventory Of A Man
From time to time I will take a moment to evaluate myself. I take inventory of where I am as a father, husband, friend, or man. I look at what I am surrounded by and I ask myself how did I get here and is here where I wanted to be. I don’t always like my answers but that is just how life is. It is not beyond me to evaluate others too. It is human nature. Most all of us have looked at another person and passed opinion on someone. It is human nature. I will admit that most of the time it is a negative opinion from me but that is one of those personal inventory items I need to work on.
I have a friend who is turning 50. Not that you care but I want to share my perspective on this man. Let me start by saying that I am blessed to have many friends but most are more like acquaintances. They are people you like and maybe even love but if you were separated tomorrow by uncontrollable forces you would miss them but over time the separation would not leave a gap in your life. That’s not meant to sound cruel but life moves on. Every now and again though you cross that person in your life’s path that imprints themself into your soul. In most cases you never see them coming and it takes a while before you realize their true impression on your life.
The first time I met this guy we were both at a professional crossroads. I had been recently started in the grocery business and I truly did not believe it was my calling. I felt my earlier career had more impact and meaning and I was desperately searching to find a job that could fill that hole. I was temporarily assigned to the same job my friend was. His work scenario was different. He was going in a direction that was not really where he wanted to go and to no fault of his own. I remember one of our first conversations was in the back of a trailer we were unloading. He was telling me his work story and never was there a true complaint. What had happened to him had cost him money and truly was out of his control but he did not flinch. He was determined to find a way to build back up professionally. He told me that what we were doing at that time was something he always enjoyed doing when he was a manager. We worked together at our assignment for several months. I was pulled away for the summer months but sent back to work with him in the winter. We had many conversations during that time. Eventually I moved on to another part of the company but from time to time we still talked. After a couple of years I found myself as a buyer with our company so our professional paths had crossed again. He had built himself back up and replaced his old boss after he retired. He had gained a good bit of respect from the very man who pushed him back a few years earlier. It was during this time that my wife and I were nearing the end of a four-year journey where we were battling infertility and trying to have a baby. It had not gone well and this IVF cycle was our last stand. This friend called me constantly wanting updates. He had a similar issue in the past trying to have a child with his wife that was far more tragic than the tragic enough battles my wife and I endured. He seemed to always call at the right time. He talked in “Man Language”. It was not a conversation of coddling as much as it was simply “it will be okay brother”. Casual conversation that stuck. When we thought we were misscarrying our daughter he was the first person I talked to after getting the news and the first person I called after we found out our (now) daughter was okay. He was a rock during the nine months leading to my little girls birth. He too is a father to a beautifully brilliant college girl.
Shortly after my daughter was born our company was again going through changes and as fate would have it my job title changed and I was working for my friend. There is a part of me that wished that had never happened because we are both hard-headed and I was scared where that would go. I don’t mind making a work mistake but I do mind making one that affects someone I first call a friend. It was during this time I really began to understand him and learn from him. He would tell me stories about his daughter. His love for his daughter is the very model of how a father should love their child. She is his bright shining star. Most people would say that a daughter idolizes their father but I think in this case the father also idolizes the daughter. He speaks of her with pride but also as someone he thinks people should strive to be. He sometimes sounded surprised when he spoke of her accomplishments on missions oversea. I don’t think he was surprised she could do what she did but more that anything so amazing could be part him. He would tell me how his daughter kept a strong core of friends at church and that she had in fact been the reason he attended church. He said she asked why he did not go to church and he said any answer other than “I don’t have a good reason” would have been a lie. For that moment in life she was his Shepard to church. His Faith is strong and it guides him. He told me you can only guide your child in the best direction and hope that how you raised them gets them to a good place. He loves his daughter and her sings her praises. That is how it should be.
He loves his wife. He makes sure the world knows it too. He is not afraid to be openly in love. He probably does not see it that way but it is how a husband should be. A husband should hold his wife on the highest shelf. He may crack the wife joke from time to time like all us husbands do but when something is not right you can feel his concern. He knows that she is the lighthouse that gets him through the storm. When I first met her I was scared of her. She had a sharp tongue when the times called for it and those times called for it. He is proud of her strength. His love for her is unflinching. He is loyal to her and his friends. He still pals around with people he knew from High School.
I could go on forever about this person. Sometimes conversations we had did not have meaning to me until months later. I do not have the strongest faith in God. I believe He exists but I have never truly found Him in my life. I see evidence of His hand but what I truly believe is that God gives you what you need. Don’t get this story twisted because I am not saying my friend is a gift from God. What I am saying is that if you pay enough attention in life you will see that God surrounds you with what and who you need. If you can accept this then you will find ways to get through the tough times. If you do not accept this you may live a miserable life. I appreciate my life and my wife and my daughter and the ones I call true friends. When I inventory this friend I find things that can guide me to be a better man without even trying. He does not speak much and I am certain he does not understand his impact on people but it is great and wonderful.
Happy Fiftieth brother, love you mean it.