Real men like women with curves, real men wear suits, real men don’t drink fruity drinks. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably write it a dozen more times; as long as you’re taking care of your responsibilities as a man. Your family, working, keeping your word, then everything else is perception, preference. You’re not a real man if you like slim women? You’re not a real man if you consider dressing up slacks and a polo shirt? You’re not a real man if you spend a Saturday night in your underwear drinking pink panties or pina colada daiquiris with your girl? Okay, you keep being that guy. For me what makes me a real man is praying. Praying for the people I love, praying when I’m stressing or hurting or happy. Praying when I’m not sure how God is going to make a way but I know he’ll make a way.
I recently had a conversation with an atheist. She was a really smart woman and we clicked but she took offense to something I wrote. I basically said “I’m not sure I could love a woman that didn’t believe in God. I could accept short hair or a different race, maybe even different religions. But to know she didn’t believe in anything? I need to know we can pray together. I need to know if I’m hurting then she can pray for me or if she’s stressing we can pray together. I need to know we’re equally yoked.” The ironic thing was she kept trying to argue with me about, “How do you know there’s a God? You Christians this, you’re such hypocrites.” She was visibly angry and all I could tell her was, “I just know it in my heart.”
Awhile ago I read something that said, “You can’t change a person with your words, it has to be with your actions. You can tell people anything and in the beginning maybe that’s enough but eventually you have to put something behind those words.” That’s how prayer works for me. I often times ask God for a wife and then I get women in my life and mess it up. I ask for a new job and when someone comes to me and says, “Mez, I know somewhere that would be good for you but you’d have to move or you’d have to drive 45 minutes to work,” so I walk away. It’s not that God wasn’t listening, it’s that I wasn’t willing to work for that blessing. He’s not a genie, you don’t ask and tomorrow it falls in your lap. You have to put in work! Blood, sweat and tears behind that prayer, behind those words.
Real men pray because life can get hard. It can get confusing. You can feel like you have everything you want today and tomorrow it can be gone. Real men pray because it gives us clarity in what we have. There are nights where I’m sitting up wishing I could hop on a plane to wherever, wishing I lived in this perfect loft or drove this perfect car. In those moments I don’t pray for that loft or car I pray for understanding, for thanks. I’m not sleeping under a bridge, I’m not walking, I have air and food and family. Prayer isn’t always about asking and pleading, often times it’s about giving and being thankful. I’m not where I want to be but when I tell you I wake up every day and smile no matter how much I want to cry or feel sorry for myself. I smile because I’m here, I’m healthy and I’m gifted because I have breath in my lungs. Pray for me and I’ll pray for you. How many of those we know or love didn’t make it to tonight?
~ Demez F. White