Strange Confessions: I Want To Be a Cowboy
No, not a cowboy in your standard sense of the word, with chaps and “y’alls” and ropin’ and shootin’ and hats and boots and beans. In more of the sense of surety, of purpose, of manliness, of desire to be emulated. There is also a sense, most probably promulgated on us by Hollywood types, of a reluctantly gained apprenticeship of sorts; the “Don’t follow me around kid, I’m no good for ya,” prototype that is in obvious need of transferring who he is upon someone who needs that attitude of assuredness, that goal of purposefullness. I desire that someone would see in me that iconic stoicism. That they would see the glare that would make the snarliest of villains hesitate, making them unsure of their next step. That the fairer sex would see me and know no amount of eye-batting would sway me from the purposes I’ve had from the day I first saw the expansive land below, as to be tamed under my firm and unyielding hand.
Alas, I am not the “Cowboy” I desire to be. For I am one who hesitates at his step. Whose purpose, although the goal is clear and high above, the way through is foggy and hard to navigate. My manliness is draped with an affliction of enjoying the taste of food too much. All these qualities are ones that are not forming queues around the block, and it seems many of the qualities described in the first paragraph are veiled in a misty shroud in this day and age of equality and esteem. However, it is what I am striving toward, if at a somewhat weaker and less reaching pace.
My demeanor leans toward the obnoxious, the snarky, the immature and yet shy and quite unsure of myself. Although I want people to know me and seek whatever wisdom I might have gained from my forty-four revolutions around the sun, I rarely offer myself in open conversation, unless the opportunity presented itself for me to go on an opinionated rant in front of others. Perhaps I see it as some kind show I can put on for the audience of the world. I suppose it takes a narcissistic type to do that and write the eighty plus blog entries that mainly surrounds my history, opinions and desires.
Which brings me to what I have been wondering lately: Can a person like me affect individuals to initiate a protocol surrounding a desire to emulate who I am at the core? And if not, what minor or broad changes must be made to affect said individual, prompting them to not follow me, but the one to whom I follow?
I said something there that is very important for me to understand: “who I am at the core”. The core of who I am is a follower of Christ. All of those other things I told you about me are just mere characteristics. 2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” We are to be a pleasing aroma to those around us, specifically those who are being saved and those who are perishing. We must ask ourselves: What kind of aroma am I to those in the world? Am I a repellent skunk? Am I a pot of boiling cauliflower? Or am I fresh baked bread?
I asked the question on that one site: “Do you have to be a sober minded person to be one that is sought out for advice? Can a person who is a kid at heart be looked up to?” I realize that my apparent immaturity can be a slight put-off to many, and not a type to emulate, but not all have to be stoic. Right? A few people answered and the descriptors for people you seek out were as follows: “strong in Christ and wise is His Word” “approachable, non-judgmental, and has been through the battles themselves” “Not someone legalistic, but not too liberal either” Pretty good answers I must say.
To me though, being a Christian, I should know what strong in Christ and not legalistic or too liberal looks like, but it is a little more vague for the non-believers. So I look at approachable and non-judgmental that is more getting down to the roots of it, and it’s more general too, in a worldly manner. But, that might be a bit more subjective. I have “been through the battle” myself, but I kind of consider it to be of a more coincidental viewpoint. Maybe I need to be more sure of what I’ve been through and encourage others in the struggle.
There were others who said a kid at heart was not a problem as long as they displayed responsibility and seriousness. One even went as far as saying about looking up to the kid at heart, ” if there is a reality and a depth beneath the craziness.” That maybe seems a bit postmodern to me, or perhaps they knew me a little too well and were trying to lift me up because of what I might be seeking. My most honest friend just told me yes to the first and no to the other. I always appreciate his candor and take most to heart what he says. And, I have a tendency to agree with him the most. Although, perhaps this exercise is one he would hardily chuckle at and just tell me I think too much. But, as I will tell him, this is what I do.
I have to have a serious confession here before I wind things up with my own conclusion. I treated a very good friend, one whom I look up to, very badly. I believe I was angry at him for knowing more than I and displaying that knowledge in subtle ways I wish I could just once display to him. I feel bad and I know he will just say he didn’t recognize that in me and it was no big deal. I feel like I backtracked our friendship a bit and hope he wasn’t offended. I will have to call him tomorrow and apologize. Not the kind of thing you want to emulate, right?
On being the “Cowboy” I desire to be:
First, you have to know things. You have to know how to do things and have the right tools to do it. Others will come to you if you have the tools and know-how. You will be known as one to go to. Think about it, we’ve all heard people talking about doing such and such a project and then someone says, “Well, you should ask Michael. I heard he did it for so and so, and he should have all the stuff to get it done.”
Second, you do have to be serious minded. Sure you can have the occasional fun and rowdiness at play, but be serious as you listen to what is going on. And don’t talk all the time about what you or your kids have done, don’t be a braggart, just be serious. People aren’t going to go to a “fool”, kids might, but they grow up!
Third, and this goes along with the above, listen. Shut up and listen. And when all the listening is done…
Forth, speak soundly. Don’t be all namby-pamby with your hims and haas. Talk about it like you’ve done it for years. But, if you run into something unfamiliar, speak truth, and say, “I’ve never seen that before, but let’s…”
Fifth, do things together. Don’t just tell them what to do, do it with them, and never, ever talk down to them because they’ve never done it before. Nobody will ever come back to someone who has laughed or sighed with a grin or shaken their head in dismay. I will do things with anybody who will do work with me and not ever make me feel small.
This is my goal for being a “Cowboy”. This not only works in the worldly sense, but in the spiritual sense as well, and I believe it is all biblical. First thing I’m going to do is learn how to do something I’ve never done before, and then something else, and something else, and so on, and so on… I want to be the man people will seek out, because I have a kingdom to share, and I want to have the aroma of Christ in me. He shared all he had, not with the educated, but with the ignorant, and loved them all for it. More of You Jesus, less of me.