Again I am quoting from Wes Yoder’s “Bond of Brothers.” I agree with Kenny Luck, who is quoted on the jacket of the book: “He says things in this book I have never heard anyone say about men and, more to the point, about me!” Yoder maintains that often when a man is silent, he is fearful of revealing thethings that are most important in his life. Often this can be traced to the silence of our fathers, in which case the silence is perpetuated from father to son. Yoder believes that, “Men feel something most of us cannot describe. It is a sense of being responsible for something we cannot control, for something we do not know.” This is the manifestation of a “limping man.” “We suspect,” observes Yoder, “our fathers knew something they could have told us but did not. Whatever it was they did not tell us, we wish they had. We see their limp, and we feel ours.”
I know this is very true of my relationship with my father. I tried, I hope, in an honorable manner to have my father share some of his heart with me. I wanted to know some of the secrets that were locked in his heart, so that I could understand myself better as a man. But for some reason, my father was not able to brake his silence. It well could have been that Yoder was describing my dad when he says, “Sometimes the loudest expression of a man’s longings is his silence, and it is that silence in generations of men that turns the world, for many, into an orphanage.” It has taken me many years to come to peace with the simple fact that I will always be “Albert’s one and only son.” My father was a classic expression of a silent man. But I learned to love him and to accept that fact that I would never know his story.
So how do men break the silence. We need a group of trusted friends, who will listen to the story of our lives. Listen to the advise of Yoder. “Uncover what a man is not talking about and you may just discover what he cares about most…..men aren’t talking much about things that matter, and our silence is quite disturbing. But what you need to know about men is that they are more than willing to talk when they have the respect of those who are willing to listen, provided the topic isn’t one more thing they really don’t care about.” It is in the trusted circle of other men, who are braking their silence, that you will find support to tell you story of pain and lose, in not knowing your father’s story.
In the circle of trust, men are able to find affirmation and respect for being uniquely male. Their story telling will be different from their wives and the other women in their lives. As a matter of fact, men have learned to be silent because deep within they sense that a woman cannot share the pain of not being “fathered.” But in the group of brothers, we are able to affirm each other, the way home to our heavenly Father, where our true affirmation is found. It is in the company of other brothers that a man “will find his voice.” Their in his presence we are able to find healing as his love and care fills in the gaps of our “lost stories” with our fathers. The loving light of his presence brings healing to those dark and hidden places in our souls, that we on our own are afraid to uncover. To recover our true masculine soul, we must go to those places of pain and find healing in our Father’s presence. I close with one more quote from Yoder. He quotes Ps. 18:35, “‘Your gentleness made me great.’ These five words buried in the Psalms provide a brilliant meditation for men.” In a trusted circle of men this can be applied first of all to our heavenly Father and then to trusted male friends, as we tell our stories to regain our authentic male voice.