Welcome back to another episode of #MANLYMONDAY! Our bimonthly video series for Your Other Brothers. In this episode, I process our recently held YOBBERS retreat — including my favorite element and my least favorite aspect of 47 dudes from all over the world uniting in a single place.

What was great about our retreat, and what was just awful about it? I have much to say about our emotional weekend together and life’s mountaintop moments at large.

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OUR VERSE FOR THIS WEEK

Psalm 23:4 (ESV) —

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

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DISCUSSION

Do you struggle with the mountaintop — getting there, climbing back down? Do you yearn for life’s mountaintop moments with disregard for the valley? Tell us about some mountaintop moments from your life — including how you navigated the journey down or even implemented elements of the mountaintop into the valley.

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  • I’ve definitely experienced those mountains and valleys many times. Being bipolar, they’re even more pronounced since my whole perspective can shift drastically in a way few could imagine. I’ve learned to expect the valleys and stay humble on the mountain tops. I never want to diminish the ups and downs of life — but I am aware of the need to not be tossed around by the storms or gentle breezes of this life.

    • Dean, the aftermath of depression is much like you describe. I’ve had days of near giddiness, and I started to notice they sometimes presaged days of darkness. So, I’ve learned to be a bit more sober on the mountains and a bit more hopeful in the low periods. Or, I should say that I’m learning to be.
      Hard to keep an even keel at times, but so glad Jesus is in that boat and even the winds and waves obey Him.

  • Oh, Tom, you make me chuckle all the time. You are always at your finest. “I do this because…I’m manly……..essentially” LOL!
    I am essentially manly, too!
    Yes, I know the emotions you describe here. I just came home last weekend from nine glorious days of intense spiritual fellowship and advancement. Coming home was hard. I didn’t want to go back to work. All the trivial things of life meant nothing in the light of what I had experienced.
    I used to get very sad at the end of our campmeetings. Parting from my friends and brethren was always a very melancholy affair. Over the years, though, something changed within me. I found myself looking forward to going home and putting into practice all the good things I heard. I started feeling like, even though I was separated from the others, I was still very much a part of them. This encouraged me, and I cope a lot better these days.
    But this year was especially wonderful, and I miss my brethren! I’m grateful for technology, which allows me to keep in contact like never before. Yet, nothing can replace the physical presence, the touch of another brother as he embraces me or washes my feet, the sound of hundreds of them lifting up their voices in prayer and praise.
    So, while I am being faithful at home, I yearn still for my brothers. I think about them and thank God for them.
    The old hymn says:
    When we asunder part
    It brings us inward pain
    But we shall still be joined in heart
    And hope to meet again!
    And I am not ashamed of my emotions in this regard, for I know they are…..essentially manly!

    • What can I say…I do it for the people.
      Going back to work with this feeling of triviality. Yes. I feel that in abundance. I want to bypass the ordinary and infuse more of the extraordinary into this life.

  • The lasting thing I tend to take from those mountaintop experiences is hope, to be employed in the valleys. We often lament that the mountaintops aren’t “real life,” but when I look at God’s design for our lives, and our trajectory together in him, I think there’s a certain sense that the mountaintops are realer than the valleys. We love these kinds of retreats because they are a little slice of eternity, a glimpse of Kingdom Come. (And we grieve that it’s only a slice or a glimpse. This is expected, fair, and correct.) When things are rough in the valleys I can remember that mountaintops exist, and they’re my home. It’s only a matter of time before I return.

    • Those mountaintops are indeed way realer than anything in the valleys. You’re right, Ryan; they’re home. Little slices of the Paradise to come. I realize now that the reason I chase after the mountaintops so often is because I’m yearning so deeply for this return to home. I need to yearn healthily for it while also being present in the valley. A tough balance.

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