Being Men: Dreams for Sale

I found this listing on Craigslist and thought that it was a perfect metaphor for many of us. How much are you willing to sell your dreams for?

I can imagine this guy’s excitement as he thought to himself, “I should learn to SCUBA Dive. Most folks just rent the gear from a resort, but me…I am going all in.”  He probably then drove to his local dive supplier where some shop owner convinced him that anyone can use the metal weights provided by the dive boat, but a real diver shows up with their own neoprene softweights.  (And don’t get me started on diving gloves!) So our friend threw down a couple hundred on gear, a couple of months on dive lessons; he probably even bought a subscription to SportDiver. I’ll bet you, he spent many evenings researching the perfect Caribbean trip with his girlfriend. After finishing his certification and check out dive, he was handed his flashy PADI card that he proudly slipped right behind his Visa Card and in front of his Starbucks Gold Card–cause you never know when you may need it. At night he probably pulled out the card and smiled as he read “OpenWater Diver;” he had done it. He was living his dreams!

But then months past, and the dream began to fade. The magazines started to pile up and rather than inspire him, they made him feel guilty that he never booked that get-away weekend. Eh, that relationship had fallen apart anyway. Then one day he was reaching for the hedge clippers in the back garage when one of those weights fell on his toe. Stumbling and cursing, he looked up to see this “Like New” gear jammed into the corner, and realized the imaginary life as an adventurous diver enjoying a Red Stripe with that girl had never materialized.  So rather than be haunted by the failed dream, he snaps a few photos of this gear hoping to lure some other man in.

How do I know this story?

Because my garage is filled with the same story–there’s a Ruck Sack, a bike trainer, golf clubs, a triathlon suit, a bocce-ball set, two pairs of climbing shoes, a humidor, and camping gear. My den has Outside Magazine, Runners World, Cycling, BackPacker and Cigar Aficionado all holding down the coffee table so it won’t fly away. Tucked between my Starbucks Gold Card and Visa card is my REI membership, because my PADI card is locked away in my safe with my passport…just in case.

I know his story, cause this man and I meet in a parking lot every few years to trade the gear we posted on Craigslist as we desperately seek some larger adventure.

John Eldridge writes, “Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man.  The masculine heart needs a place where nothing is prefabricated, modular, nonfat, zip lock, franchised, on-line microwaveable… Moses does not encounter the living God at the mall.  He finds him somewhere out the deserts of Sinai, a long way from the comforts of Egypt… Deep in a man’s heart are some fundamental questions that simply cannot be answered at the kitchen table.  Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for?  It is fear that keeps a man at home where things are neat and orderly and under his control.”

In one of those Runner’s World articles, someone once asked, “At what point should someone take that 26.2 bumper sticker off their car?”  I loved the author’s reply…”If you start asking yourself this, rather than taking the sticker off the car, that should be a sign to register for another race.”

So go rummage in the back of that garage…see what you find.  See what lost dreams, and unfulfilled adventures are gathering dust.  And rather than trying to schlepp it off to some other guy on Craigslist, why not book that trip?  Why not see what you are made of and what you are destined for?

Because it was out in the desert that Moses discovered his life’s mission.  It was out in the chaotic waves that Peter began to understand who he was as he tried to walk on water. These are the places where you will discover answers to the questions that haunt men: “Who am I?” “What am I made of?” and “What am I destined for?”

*By the way, anyone want to trade me some SCUBA gear for some “Like New” golf clubs.

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