Friday, August 19, 2022

The Soapbox: The Heart of a Man

The World Is At War. The Human Heart Is The Prize. Come Get Your Heart Back.—John Eldredge

Somewhere between the sentiments of Neil Diamond’s rendition of “Feels Like Home” and John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart” is the place where the heart of every man is at war against itself in the fight to reconcile its deepest passions with an inner warrior. The quest to roam, pursue, and conquer versus the desire to find the comfort of home are overwhelmingly driving daily decisions of the men of this world. Couple this with the sting of lust offered on a silver platter and you have yourself a grandiose buffet of fool’s gold awaiting.

Regardless of the flesh of a man, at the center of the strong and the bold is the enshrouded heart that is predisposed to fragility in spite of its core desire for wholeness, safely masked in masculinity. Let the right woman come along and the solemn exchange of his entrusting it to her for the rest of his life demands a slice of time for the world to stop spinning. The knight on one knee surrendering his proverbial sword declares his vow to lay his life down for her from this day forward, always faithful.

I wish I were qualified to write this column, alas, as a woman I am ill-equipped in this digital age to unravel all of the inner mystery of the heart of a modern day knight. All of the rules have changed and while some may take the bait, I draw the line in the sand before dating an avatar in the metaverse. Have we lost our ever-loving minds?

A recent viral meme, albeit politically charged, spoke to our grandfathers’ generations who withstood the dark and the cold in foxholes with our grandmothers’ photos tucked inside a pocket near their chests.

Last winter, that little girl my veteran grandfather once knew spoke up inside of me as I was enroute to a funeral of a fallen soldier at a military base. Just before I drove through the gates, I knew that I couldn’t wait any longer to face the fact that I, all dressed and beautified, was going to have to put on my own license plate to enter.

My temporary tag had been expired and either my nails were wet or I couldn’t find my screwdriver or I was on my way to work or I flat out just didn’t want to. Why? Not because I am incapable, but because I still remember what it was like to grow up with a depth of strong men in my family who are all no more.

I wondered if there were any more left on God’s green earth. This, coupled with the fact that “worse” showed up in my long-term marriage and subsequently there is still on this planet a man somewhere that did promise he would take care of me no matter what.

Fast forward to me putting on my license plate, roadside, in my pretty fur hood coat and heels, yet my hair was getting all messed up in the cold wind and I didn’t want to admit the feeling of being empowered because of my getting disheveled and felt that life was not very kind right then. A few minutes later, after the job was complete, I pulled my hair back into place and before long was whisked into a small family room of grieving people where I looked a mother directly in the face and said, “I am so sorry for the loss of your son.” She held tightly onto my hands and wept.

Her son, a warrior lost at a young age who never had the opportunity to take a wife, have children, or experience what it is like to grow old as a man, was now dead and in the grave. Though his family knew and recanted tales of his lost dreams, I could not help but wonder what were the unknown dreams that died inside the heart of this man.

I wondered how many men are living trapped inside a dead shell of fruitless pursuit, unfaithful to themselves, their God, and their own dreams. This would not be hard to accomplish in today’s digital cookie jar of women. Nobody has to know about the merchandise that has been sampled. Only when the night comes, there remains that beating heart of the man, once again pumping blood through its ventricles—trying to be alive.

Though I have said all I know about my understanding of the heart of a man, I can definitively say that as a grown up girl I have never turned down a good dance party. In my life, I have danced with men from age 20 to age 80. Regardless of age, when the strong hands of a fierce and gentle warrior have led me through the turn, held me safely in the frame, and directed my hips and feet in the way they should go, something inside of me speaks, “That’s my dream.” It is my belief that somewhere deep within the heart of every man resides the longing for one woman’s trust of his leadership, whereupon satisfied, will always be the key to holding his heart for a lifetime. Such a man seems a modern day impossibility. Such a woman, greater the gain. Such a life, too short on time to accept anything less.

Brandi Chambless
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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