Over the weekend I got to spend a Friday evening and a Saturday with 10 good men.
It was our QBC bloke’s getaway in Lancelin and traditionally these have been a time of laughter, foolish antics and rich, strong conversation between men around what it means to follow Jesus.
This weekend was no exception. I loved being there partly because it was run by two of the blokes and I just had to turn up, but also because as I looked around the room I realised I found myself in the company of other blokes who weren’t up for pretending they were ‘living the victorious life’, but meanwhile consumed by issues like fear, shame and self loathing.
Someone said of our Quinns culture that ‘there is no shallow end’. You just jump in deep and start swimming. The beauty of it is that we can all ‘swim’, whether we believe it or not. We can all let the guard down, shed a tear, growl an expletive and laugh at ourselves in the space of a few sentences. And as we do that it’s met with acceptance and understanding. Sometimes – if need be – it is met with a push back, a call to step up.
But either way it’s a response of love.
In an old Lano shack we were led in discussion around mental health by two of our men who found themselves struggling over the last few years – two you wouldn’t have thought vulnerable. One is a high level professional and our ‘church optimist’. If there is a ‘bright side’ he will find it! But he found himself dogged by terrible anxiety and panic attacks. And it was hard to put it out there… because positive people don’t have those struggles… except when they do… The other is self employed and had a similar struggle. It was debilitating and difficult. This blog isn’t the place to discuss another person’s challenges, but it was wonderful to consider mental health in light of the scriptures that speak about who we are and that carry stories of other’s similar struggles.
Of the 10 men present at least 7 had encountered challenges in their mental health and all had found it difficult to speak up about it. It’s a thing.
So it was good to have the conversations and hear the stories – to know that we are not alone and that there is a bunch of people we can hang with who will do more than talk footy, interest rates and cars.