Canadian Wilderness Trip Lesson #2: Camaraderie

Guys, generally speaking, are terrible at deep friendship, and I am the chief of sinners in this regard. I have a lot of friends, but very few close friends. I long for such friendships, but I’m a dude, and I suck at them. When asked what our goals were for our spiritual retreat, one of the things I wrote down was camaraderie. I was really looking forward to some “man time” with the fellas – my college friends Heath, Jonathan, and James, specifically. This trip did not disappoint.

Catching up on life over the past 18-20 years, praying for one another, paddling until our arms felt like they were going to fall off, encouraging one another as we took turns portaging 50 lb. canoes on our shoulders while also carrying 50 lb. backpacks, laughing at dumb guy jokes and noises until …

(What is this strange moisture on my eyeballs?!),

sharing our stories of struggles and triumphs until …

(Gosh, I’ve got something in my eyes again. Do you see anything in there?!),

and seeing each other naked bathing in the lake until …

(Dude! I swear I must have styes in my eyes, they burn so bad! I can’t open them anymore! The burn is so deep!!!),

relationships were deepened, lifelong friendships were formed, and more than likely our minds suffered scarring.

I was reminded afresh that life is not meant to be lived in isolation, and adventures are meant to be shared. The great joy of life is experiencing it with others and creating stories that will be retold years down the road. The great challenge of life is to remember that we are not the only ones who struggle on this journey. We know this in our heads, but we need to risk experiencing this truth by opening up our hearts and being honest with one another. As the great C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself …’” (The Four Loves). Going on a trip like we did created a space in which we could all say, “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself …”.

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