Looking for a Lost Treasure
During my 12 years in counseling I had been part of a monthly support group. In the group we each had a time to share about our lives and struggles. Although it was scarey at first to go to these groups I began to really treasure how important these times of meeting together had become to me. I really was drawn to our times of being able to share and be real with one another. Eventually, when my counselor was about to retire, the group was discontinued. When that group ended I felt that I had lost a valuable part of my life. That was about 8 years ago.
Ever since then I have been wanting to be a part of a men's support group where we could be open and real with one another without being religious. I have been looking but hadn't found such a group in my area. However, over the past couple of years I have been part of a men's group from our church. I really wasn't a good fit for the group because the others mainly wanted to do a Bible study, but I wanted to include a time where we could each share what struggles we were going through and what was going on in our lives. Eventually this group quit.
Finding a New Group
My family and I had been in our church for about 7 years. We know and care for a lot of the people in that church. However, the needs of our teenage son have changed, as well as our own. In the process of including another church in our life, I found that is has a weekly men's meeting. I had invited the pastor of the new church over to my house and shared my story with him (including my being a sex offender). I also shared with him how I was looking for a men's group where we could be real with one another. He said that his church had recently just started a weekly men's group that sounded similar to what I was looking for. He invited me to come to the next meeting.
Last night was the first time I went to this group . This group is a place where men can come to be real with each other, and for that I am really thankful. Since this is a confidential group I won't be telling anything that anyone else says in the group, except to explain the format of the group. Basically each of us took about 10 minutes to discuss the things that were going in our lives. Since I was new, and since I wanted to give a brief overview of my life, they let me go longer. At the beginning I told of the biggest failings in my life, where I really behaved badly. I was also able to share some of the challenging things in my life right now . At the end of my sharing I felt validated and accepted. I feel that this might be a place where I can be real and be accepted.
(Just a point of clarification here: my understaning and my desire for a group like this is that it is a place where we can be real with one another about the challenges in our lives to do what is right, to live a responsible godly life. When we share our struggles, it is with the desire and intention to want to do better, to be honest and truthful in all that we do, to be more loving, more kind, to learn how to care for others, etc. It is not a place to talk about being irresponsible or commiting crimes just to get it off our chest, but not want to change it.)
As I think about being part of this group, I am thinking about the things in my life that I need to improve how I'm doing. In a way I'm beginning to get a little excited, because it seems here are other guys who want to get real , and who also seem to care about how I'm doing. Just the thought of having some caring guys in my life motivates me to want to do better.
It is both exciting and scary because I see that there are some things in my life that I need to change and do better on. Each of these areas seems like I should be able to change, but I have not. The thought of having some other guys wanting to walk with me on my journey touches me deeply . It both motivates and encourages me to want to reach for something higher .