Standing Alongside Our Brothers


It is often easy to stand alongside our brothers at a football match, or at the bar, or on a healthy hike. These are good “blokey” things to do. They feed our sense of worth, appeal to our desire to be seen to be “manly” – and they are good fun!

However, I wonder how we manage when standing alongside a guy means being with them when they go through tough times. It’s not so “manly” when men are asked to show compassion to one another.

Many of our guys here in the Mid-Northumberland Group are on the older side. At our breakfast yesterday we realised how some of them are frail and unwell. Just before the breakfast, I received a number of calls from guys unable to come. One was about to begin six months of chemotherapy; another had suffered a stroke and had become very frail; for another it was the anniversary of his wife’s death; and a few others were simply “under the weather”.

It’s easy to stand by a brother in celebration, in fun activities and when the sun is shining. How easy do we find it when sadness, illness or problems arise?

In The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers writes “The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” Turning this on its head you could say “The most life-giving thing a man can do is to stand by the lonely.”

Jesus was not slow to show his feelings or his support for those in need. Do we sometimes let being “a real guy” get in the way of our doing the same?