I read a post the other day and loved it. The writing was amazing and captured so much of the beauty I see in boys and men. And while I am not male myself, I live with four of them. So an expert I am not, but I do consider myself well versed in the gender.
When I had my first son, I wanted to call him beautiful, but I held back for some reason. Boys don’t want to be called beautiful, I thought. Boys want to be valiant! And valor often comes through a fight. Having three boys I hear a lot of fighting. I don’t exactly think of it as beautiful.
But when it is not my boys fighting with each other and I have a minute to stand back and look at this fighting spirit – this drive for valor – I do think it is beautiful.
I was reminded the other day in a conversation with a friend who also has boys just how darn competitive they can be. I finished my dinner first! I got in the car first! I blew a bigger bubble! I’m stronger than you! I’m faster than you! The list goes on but I will stop before I bore you. I assure you it does not bore me but it does exhaust me while it drives me crazy.
But if I give myself a moment to think about it, all this competition is practice for this fighting spirit they’ve been given. And they need to sharpen this tool. It is placed in them to aid them through life because, as we all know, life throws some pretty nasty things at us sometimes and we have to fight our way through them.
Things like bad economies, car accidents, depression and cancer just to name a few. I have seen some men recently fighting their way through such things. I think they are beautifully valiant.
I just gave one of them a ride home from the doctor the other day. The news he got there was not what any man would have liked to hear and carried with it some realities that look like defeat. He probably felt anything but valiant as he shed his tears on the drive home.
But I thought his courage was astounding. He was being honest and real and vulnerable, which often takes more guts than the other options. And I think that is part of the fight of life – not loosing your self in the battle.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And the beauty I see in the valor of men is not in the winning or the losing but in the fighting itself. In the not giving up, no matter how wretchedly tempting that may sound.
I see valor in getting up each day to face the battle of what life has brought your way to beat you down – even when you feel beaten down and terribly un-valiant. I see valor in men who refuse to turn bitter from their life circumstances. Because circumstances – be they ever so discouraging – do not define the man. These things will pass and are on the outside. The inside is where the man resides.
And while these men I know may not see themselves as valiant in their fights against the bad economy, car accidents, depression or cancer, I do. And I find them wonderfully, heroically and valiantly beautiful.
P.S. The boys and I had fun discussing and trying our options for the picture of this post, but as the mom of three boys I made the executive decision that the jock straps and cups that often hang in our entry way was the most classic representation of boy-ness.