Saturday night I closed a chapter in my life that I didn’t think would happen, or I should say not this soon. As one season of life ends a new season of life begins. In Ecclesiastes 3 it speaks of different seasons/
1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
7 years ago we were living in a 3 story house that had been built in 1913. The house had been turned into a duplex. Our family had the 2nd and 3rd floors and below us a newlywed couple had moved in. Peter and Jessica, they had moved out here from Nebraska where they had attended college, gotten married and moved to Portland to start a new life. As with anyone that moved in below us, we greeted them and welcomed them to the neighborhood.
At that point in my life I wasn’t much for starting a conversation let alone engaging my neighbors in them. A casual hi to the neighbors was the most you got from me. Over the next couple of weeks as our paths continued to cross. Once morning I was getting ready to go to work, sitting in my van waiting for it to warm up not really paying attention, suddenly a man is standing pressed up against my window growling at me. It scared me to the point that I actually yelled out loud. Peter was having a great laugh at my expense. He thought it was quite funny seeing the look of shock on my face. Score 1 for Peter.
About a month after they had moved in, one night there was a knock on the door and Peter asked to talk to me. We sat outside on the front steps talking. He informed me he had been praying and looking for another guy he could hang out with, be real with and just have some guy time. He wanted to know if I might be interested in doing something like that. Peter told me to think about it and he’d check in with me in a couple of days. Ironically, I had praying and asking God to bring another guy into my life that I could build a relationship with and get real with. The church we were attending was a toxic environment and the relationships I had with other men, had fizzled out. Although suspicious and apprehensive it seemed as though this could be an answer to my prayers.
I continued to think through this and when we met a few days later I told him I was apprehensive but this I was looking for something like this and excited to start. Both of us were in agreement during our first time together we would spill our guts to one another, be transparent, open and honest and just get all the junk out on the table. We set aside one night a week where we would get together and hang out, spend time talking, praying for each other and being very real with where things were at in our lives. We chose Monday night as the night to hang out.
That following Monday night we met. We walked over to the park near our house, sat down and completely spilled our guts to each other. We shared struggles, hurts and pains we had and wounds from our fathers. We talked about where we were at with our wives and just being guys. We both opened up and shared freely with no apprehension. It was a very new and different experience for me, but one that seemed to come easily. From the beginning we both talked about wanting to be intentional in our own lives, each others and in the lives of other men. We both wanted to make a difference and have God use us. Looking back now we just never knew God would use us in the lives of other men.
Since that night Peter (except for periods of times where he was out-of-town because of his job or school) we’ve met on a weekly basis. Our time together have generally consisted of talking and sharing where we were at, praying for each other, and either watching a movie or playing cards. I developed a love for watching Hero’s, Chuck and V from Peter and he learned to gracefully loose to me in many games of Rummy. Although we never agreed on Micro-brews we did agree his skills for making mixed drinks was awesome.
I am 10 years older than Peter and he’s never let me forget that. He’s been there for me as my wife and I purchased our first home and brought an additional 2 kids into our home. He’s seen me at some of my darkest days and never once has he turned away. I’ve watched Peter change his degree in school, jobs, and outlook on life. I’ve seen him at his lowest points and I have also seen him at some of the best places in his life. I’ve watched God move in his life and do some major changes in his heart. I’ve rejoiced with him as he bought his first house and at the birth of his first child a son (whom I nick named Anakin).
The years we spend together are something I wish everyone could experience. It has absolutely been one of the sweetest experiences of my life. Spending time in a relationship where investing from both ends has rewards that are life changing. We both have a passion for life that includes being intentional in the lives of other men, pursuing God, being great husbands and fathers. This also goes along the lines of the great outdoors, Peter being more active than I in hunting and fishing. We’ve both tried very hard to live out what we have wanted to see and continued to encourage and pray God would work through us in this area.
In the last 3 months, our relationship grew closer than it ever had in the past. On a daily basis we were texting or checking in with each other. We didn’t make it through a week where we weren’t challenging each other to be better than we had ever been. We became vigilant in our quest to spur each other on to greatness.
Peter completed his degree as a biologist and has spent the last 12 months looking for a job. Off and on he’s been out in the mountains doing stream management and inspections. I’ve watched as he’s begun to lose hope and wonder if God was really listening to him. More than anything he wanted to be able to have a career in which he could put all of his skills, education and knowledge into practice so he could take care of his family and his wife wouldn’t have to work anymore. 6 weeks ago he got a lead on a job and headed out to Colorado to interview. We prayed if this was where God wanted him to be, he’d open up the doors for him. He had the interview and we continued to pray about it and were waiting. I got a call informing me he’d gotten the job and they were moving in 6 weeks. It was a hard call to hear; selfishly I didn’t want him to get the job because I knew what it meant. Through tears I told him I was happy but I didn’t want him to leave.
Now here I stood on Saturday night, listening to other men talk about how intentional Peter had been in their life. How Peter made connections with men’s from all walks of life and through his words backed up what he said. Obviously God has worked through him. I was fighting back tears listening to what they said. I couldn’t say anything out loud because I couldn’t maintain my composure. As he walked me out I held onto him and gave him the tightest hug I have ever given another man. I will miss you Peter and miss our Monday nights together. Thank you God for bringing this man into my life and for what we have shared. I am truly blessed.
So have you ever experienced Monday nights with Peter for yourself?