Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thinking, Part 2

Guys this time. Why do I have so many guys running around in my head anyway? I think I may have hit on something that resembles an answer.

It's quite possible that my "mission" as a Christian writer, is to show men who aren't afraid to be a David. And by that I don't mean that they're physically strong or brilliant strategists or great rulers. By that I mean they're not afraid to be manly, and they're not afraid to cry. Cry tears or cry out to God for help.

David was a Manly Man, there is no doubt about that. And yet he was also very in touch with his emotions who went through some bouts of depression. Some of his best Psalms are the ones written when he was at his lowest, crying out to God for help and wondering why God wasn't listening to him. We all go through those moments. In today's society, it's acceptable for a woman to show weakness and cry over things. It seems to me that it's not acceptable for a man to do the same thing, even if he needs to do it. In some ways that is changing though.

So maybe this is why I have so many guys in my head. They're guys who struggle with the concept of Biblical manhood versus what society expects of them as men. That's what their stories are about, that struggle to reconcile the two facets of manhood. Maybe I'm supposed to help change that part of societal expectations.

Nick is a perfect example of this dichotomy. He's a SEAL. That means he's a Manly Man (insert The Toolman's grunt here). He is the Best of the Best, the cream of the crop. He made it through the winter BUD/S class! That class has the highest drop-out rate because of the water temp. He's a sniper for pete's sake, and a doggone good one. He's a tough He-Man. He's a tough He-Man who didn't conquer his fear of the dark until he was nearly finished with BUD/S, and who is terribly afraid of making friends because he doesn't want them to know what happened to him when he was a kid. Who hides the fact that he's Russian because he doesn't want to talk about it and also hides the fact that he's an advanced knitter. (you can only do so much math when you're laid up for 4 months with a badly broken leg, so he learned how to knit) He also hides the fact that he can turn into a real emotional basketcase under the right circumstances. Why? Because he's a SEAL, a Manly Man who doesn't show his emotions to anyone. But he fights with it because God says it shouldn't have to be that way.

Nick's Jonathan is a man named Walt. A fellow SEAL, several years older than him, who takes Nick under his wing and helps guide him through the minefield of life as a SEAL, holds him up and gives him the first real friend (besides his brothers) that he's ever had. Like in the story of David and Jonathan, Nick eventually marries Walt's sister. Even after Nick becomes an officer, Walt remains his closest friend and the only man he works with that he trusts with his past. Walt's already been through his refining fire when they first meet, so he has lots of wisdom to share once Nick reaches the point where he can listen.

And every other guy character and story in my head also follows the David and Jonathan theme, except for the marrying the sister part. It's all about how they struggle with who they're supposed to be, and how that one friend helps them be all they can be.

OK, I'm going to stop now because I'm repeating lines from Army commercials now. And besides, Sergei is starting to shout at me...

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