In a rut. Ever been off on an old two-track road? I’m talking about the two-track that has deep ruts carved out by water and years of wear. Next to them are another pair of tracks on the level where a skilled driver, a guy that must have his shit together, skillfully operated his machine to the top. Meanwhile I’m way behind, having slid down in the ruts, trying to get up a hill getting slammed side to side. Then comes a little bit of rain or snow, trouble. First you gun it, crank the wheel, you think your almost out of that rut, then wham! It slams you right back down, bouncing you off the door. Man I hate that feeling. Do it over and over again and it really wears on you. Makes you get angry at the littlest things, snapping at the person riding next to you. Then you get mad at yourself for being so short with those you care about the most. If you stay in that rut too long it can really take the life right out of you. So then…what are you supposed to do?
My best friend will put it into 4 wheel drive and start grabbing gears. He’ll get there alright, but there will be a few dents, may need an alignment, and no paint visible under that layer of mud. It can be really fun, but there might be some casualties along the way. Other guys I know would slowly back down, trying not to get their precious truck dirty. “It’s not safe, I’ll wait.” Those guys never take that chance. Other guys chain up, put it in four low, and grind and grind and grind, riding that rut all the way up. But then there’s that other set of tracks, on top out of the ruts, and smooth as can be. When you’re in the rut they taunt you. You can see it, almost feel it, but can’t quite make it there. That other guy was probably drinking hot coffee and having a nice conversation the whole way up, but not you. Your Kum & Go coffee cup is lying smashed on the floor, you have a wet seat, and your kidneys have taken such beating your worried about pissing blood. You think to yourself, “I wonder how that guy did it?”
So you stop, take a deep breath, and back up to see where he made the right move. There’s always a spot where that guy pulled up out of the rut, going around the corner he made just the right move. So you follow, and stay in his tracks. It’s been packed down and now clearly visible. A marked trail.
“We aren’t meant to figure life out on our own,” says John Eldredge.
“One of the most haunting experiences I have ever had as a man took place on an early summer day in Alaska. My family and I were sea kayaking with humpback whales in the Icy Strait, and were stopper on the shore of Chichagof Island for lunch. Our guide asked us if we wanted to go for a hike into the interior of the island, to a clearing where grizzlies were known to feed. we were all over that invitation. After a twenty-mile walk through a spruce forest, we came to what appeared to be a broad, open meadow about four hundred yards across. Being midday, and hot, there were no bears to be seen. ‘ Their sleeping now, through the afternoon. They’ll be back tonight,’ he said. ‘C’mere I want to show you something.’
I’m learning: Don’t do life alone. There is an epidemic known as the friendless American male. Alone we are too easy to pick off, or not knowing any better and just keep taking our licks bouncing back and forth in that rut. Find others that have traveled that path. God Father’s us in many ways, it could be through a book, podcast, a coach, mentor, or a good friend. Be intentional, get out of that rut.