In this process of cleaning house, I found a bunch of letters from 1993-1994 (the age before email). One such letter was from one of my mentors-Columba, a very accomplished De La Salle Brother.
As I reread his letter to me, I could now see that Columba was "a wise sage sitting on the mountaintop." I, on the other hand, was a conflicted young man-I had emigrated to America and was really struggling with what I was doing with my life.
I had transitioned from being a very committed teacher in Ireland to qualifying as a stockbroker and securing work with a very progressive, exciting brokerage company in San Francisco. Columba wrote four pages consoling me and affirming me for my gifts.
When I pondered his letter this past weekend, I realized that he was sharing his wisdom and perspective. I remember being deeply moved, when I first received it, that he would take the time to write such a letter. Rereading his letter 21 years later moved me yet again. I began to realize that this is what we men do for each other when we are at our best: We receive wisdom from each other.
I last visited Columba six years ago. His body was ravaged by Parkinson's. I helped him put on his socks and I tied his shoes for him. He told me his feet were cold and we discussed toe warmers. He was keen to learn what spiritual books I was reading.
As I left him, I gave him a gentle kiss and expressed my deep gratitude for his guidance in my life. Last year, I visited his grave to thank him again. Two men, thirty years age difference, but no competition, just connection and gratitude.
I experience the same type of brotherhood in our work. I want for all men to have this kind of connection. This is also why I hope to see many of you at Soularize 2015. To learn more about Soularize, click here.