There’s a song called ‘Hazelnut Butter’ by Medium Troy. One line says, “I want everyone to call their mom right now and let her know that she’s the shit.” The first time I heard the song, I called my mom directly after. “So, you think I’m the shit?” she said laughing. My mom passed away last year. All I’m saying, is every chance you get to tell someone that you love them, do it. I’m glad I did that day.
When you’re gone, return to dust
I’ll be alright, You’ll have to trust
You’re only boy, your “favorite son”
I’ll be fine, when your day is done
Miss has my back, and I have hers
Thick as blood, more than words
The joy of friends, I’m sealed with love
Only good comes from above
Think of the place you’ll get to be!
Golden courts for eternity!
A place of rest, for a body worn
A Savior king, the curtain torn
Peace forever! Not for a time!
A whole new body! A whole new mind!
Cancer is a forgotten word!
It’s name is never, ever heard!
You’ll run and jump and maybe fly!
And never, ever say goodbye!
Only love, that’s all you’ll know!
You and me, we know it’s so!
No more bad, no more pain!
Two more completely forgotten names!
All your words get whittled down
And somehow “Love” is the only sound
You’ll see your dad, you’ll see your mom
And all the others, who have passed on
Run into – your daddy’s arms
And gaze upon his million charms
A loving mom, ‘til the day you die
But we keep it here, with us inside
I think what I’ll remember clear
Your steady saying, “I love you, dear.”
I love you mum!
Do you reserve your love for me?
Yes, my dear, I do reserve my
love for you, but not you alone
I gave little pieces away
to some beautiful flowers whose
petals I collect in a jar by my bed.
I also – ashamedly – give my love
away to this dark abyss. I sit on
the edge and I throw little pennies
down to the bottom.
A penny might not seem like much,
but when you throw one or two
everyday of your life, it starts to
When I throw a copper piece now,
I can hear it hit all its brothers and
sisters with a metallic clank.
It reminds me of something, the noise.
It reminds me that while I want to give
you all of my everything, there’s a
small fortune sitting at the bottom of a
dark pit, that says otherwise.
It came in the mail.
A simple white envelope
containing one white card,
stating that you will be married
on the 21st of May on a farm
in Southwestern Ohio
other than me.
I don’t want confusing love,
the kind that stabs at my stomach.
I want peaceful love,
the kind that scratches my head
What makes someone worth following?
This question was posed to me (and a group of other men) one night at an event we call “Bourbon and Cigars.” The meeting has become a ritual, something we can count on; a weekly rhythm for men to gather and discuss life over spirits and smokes.
Who do you follow?
This was another question that succeeded the first. The men around the fire were silent for a long time; looking off into the distance to the sun setting over the West Side of Cincinnati.
“My father,” one man said after quite some time. We spoke about parents; about the roles of fathers versus mothers, if we, as men, were looking more for male leadership in our lives over female leadership. We spoke about the difference between people we look up to and those who we believe are worth following.
I thought about my dad. How I followed him as a child. How he taught me what he knew. I thought about his patience, his level-headedness; how I felt safe when he was around.
When I became a man, the image of my dad was tainted. My parents divorced. Now they don’t even speak to one another. My dad can’t even say my mom’s name. This question of who I follow caused my stomach to turn a bit.
I didn’t give my answer right away. Instead, I thought about how I don’t particularly want to follow anyone at the moment. Being a follower has almost become a bad word in our culture. We should be self starters! We should be completely independent! We should be free from any power over us! I am my own man, I thought. An army of one.
After battling in my own head, I thought about my mentor. How I met him when I was in grade school and did in fact follow his lead throughout middle and high school. What made him worth following?
Well, he is committed to service:
My mentor has been involved in the ministry of Young Life for over 20 years. He made a commitment when he was in college to mentor high school kids and share life with them and tell them his truth; how he found peace in the Gospel of Jesus. He has devoted his life to helping others; his impact is undeniable. He has reached thousands of young men and women through his humble service.
The Bourbon and Cigar crew talked then about imperfection; how it’s hard to follow anyone because we are all so broken. I said that the people worth following will undoubtedly screw up, but what makes them worth following is how they respond after.
There are two men in particular I’ve seen in my life that are worth following; my mentor and my grandfather. I thought about both of them and came to a realization – I have never seen either of them screw up. I do admit, I have put them on somewhat of a pedestal, but truthfully, they have been uncommonly consistent in their pursuit to live uprightly.
My mentor is steadfast and reliable. His “yes” means yes and his “no” means no. I am also certain he loves me. My grandpa was positive and uplifting every single time I saw him. His words were seasoned with love. His actions were compassion (the noun felt better there for some reason). I knew he loved me. He also loved his wife well.
(Aside) I don’t see many men that love their wives well. I don’t see men who inspire me with how they serve their wives.
So these were the themes that surfaced through the conversation around the fire. In my opinion, the people worth following are the ones who serve others, serve their families, and as a result, serve whole communities.
Also, people worth following, love well. There should be no question in your mind, that the person you are following, loves you.