That deep orange circle of sun rapidly disappeared underneath the canopy line of trees. The edge of dark chasm between us and the sun only added to the gravity of the colorful spectacle before us. So much joy filled my heart as I watched these teenagers quietly stay in awe of the sunset view from Welch Point. My heart was full.
I’ve listened to too many men share that life seems meaningless, empty of joy, devoid of passion, or lacking in purpose. Yet, these exciting men are doing daring things. They are fishing aficionados, drag-racing darers, metal-working masters, tennis terrors, Zumba-aholics, and rock climbing rock stars. How can a man enjoy such marvelous adventures, yet struggle to find fulfillment in life? I think the solution lies in the old mantra, “Sharing is caring.”
No, I’m not talking about taking a photo, posting it on Facebook, and clicking a share button. Sharing is connecting intimate time, moments, and memories personally with other people. If you want to upgrade to the next level of fulfillment in life, there are three people you may want to share your life adventures with.
Share Level 1 – Your spouse. As a minister, I counsel too many men who complain about losing the “spark” in marriage as husbands, and wives live in the same house with their lives moving in different directions. Regularly sharing adventures with my wife has brought us to a higher level of intimacy and fulfillment in our marriage.
Recently, Ashley and I shared an inexpensive trip to southern Kentucky where we enjoyed indoor rock climbing and a butterfly sanctuary. Our hearts that are often tugged in different directions by hurried schedules were rekindled as I encouraged her up a 30-foot rock wall. Our closeness increased as together we marveled at the soft kisses of butterfly wings as they fluttered all around us. While butterflies are not my first choice of adventure and rock climbing certainly isn’t hers, the sharing of simple adventures together rekindled a fire and sense of fulfillment in our marriage. If you find your hobbies unfulfilling in your life, consider sharing them with your wife.
Share Level 2 – Share with your children. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are from my times drag racing with Dad. No, I couldn’t drive the 1969 Camaro, but he made sure I had an important job on his racing team. My little red radio flyer wagon was the perfect size to tote a big water sprayer, which I dutifully used to cool down the car’s radiator after a run down the dragstrip. I know I slowed down his daring drag racing, but it brought him a sense of joy knowing that his son was sharing in the adventures with him. Likewise, there’s little I enjoy more today than when one of my kids gets up to preach a sermon with my help, navigates the rapids in a kayak beside me, or fires the .22 rifle as we target practice together. To find more fulfillment in life, share in your adventures with your children.
Tim was good at making and flying model planes. He loved the high-flying fun and sunk a lot of money into his immaculately made airplanes. When I was 17 years old, I remember watching him as he met once on month, on Tuesday nights, with his “Airplane Club,” a group of kids in the community who built and flew airplanes with him. Maybe it was his training as a preacher that gave him so much patience with the kids, because it took a lot when they crashed the creations they had made together. Tim was a good example for me. As I look around the community in White County, I witness many kids that don’t have active parents in their lives sharing adventures with them. No, not every kid likes to kayak, hike, and play tennis like I do. Yet, when we are willing to offer and share our adventures with others, I’ve found no shortage of kids willing to be in my informal “kayaking club.” You’ll find me sporting a big grin as my sons and their new friends shout and yell their way down the rolling waters of the Caney Fork next to me. Share your daring deeds with other kids who desperately need it, and your heart will continue to be filled up.
Share Level 3 – Share with another adult. They had more gray hair than me, but I was blessed years ago to join with a group of adventurous men in church. These men taught me a lot: how to run a marathon, win a 5K, cycle 60 miles, catch the biggest bass, shoot pool, bow-hunt a deer, and much more. Unbeknownst to me, this group of older fellas at church were training me in daring adventures, which, in turn, I would share with my sons. While I never intended to be a “dad-trainer,” now that I have a few more gray hairs, I now find myself in that same informal position, and I love it. It brings me great joy to take a young father running on his first half-marathon, give him his first tennis racket as he steps on the court with me, or guide him into his first cave exploring adventure. My smile broadens as I watch him share the same daring adventures with other children as the process repeats itself. Share your adventures with other adults, and you’ll find no lack of fulfillment in all you do.
Welch Point was beautiful as I took those teens on a trip to see their first sunset from that high cliff precipice. Yet the greater joy came a few days later as photos popped into my Instagram feed of my first-timers now taking others to enjoy the same awe-inspiring experience. Sharing truly is caring. My heart is full.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16