John Taylor wants to know how to be a good man, and how to turn his heart of coal into a shining diamond.
“I perfer a heart of coal….its dark and ugly and chips away over time yes, but after some time of pressure and hard times it strengthens and becomes a diamond that can never break or chip or weather away….it always shines. thats the kinda heart I want…” - Swag (a former co-worker of mine)< Only from a man in southwest Virginia could the reference of having a “heart of coal” actually make so much sense. With that having been spelled out on my Facebook timeline, Swag taught me a lot about what it means, and what it takes to have a strong character.
I will never meet another person like Swag. He is the master of gluten-free cooking and Magic: the Gathering. I busted his lip with a small crown of broccoli one morning, and he quickly fired back with a swift punch to the balls. He’s short, skinny, and resembles Shaggy from Scooby-Doo if Shaggy was a sober artist. Swag is, well, he’s swag. The most loyal of friends with the biggest of hearts.
Right now, he is nursing a broken heart. Like many guys his age (almost 10 years my younger) there are some times when the words of a girl will just crush you. Such was the case of the Facebook post he made that led to the quoted comment above. I too know a good deal about broken/breaking hearts here as of late. I could sympathize with the guy on a few levels of that one.
There are a lot of ways one can mend a broken heart. Through apologies. Through gifts. Through makeup sex. Through angry sex. Chocolate, binge eating, binge drinking, illegal drug use, legal drug abuse, going to the mall, shopping, stealing, going to jail. The list could go on for time that I don’t have. One way to fix a broken, run down heart, is by taking the pressure and applying it to the greater good. Think about it for a few moments. Think about the process in which a diamond is produced. Also trust that those around these parts know all there is to know about such matters.
What is the Greater Good for a Man?
Well, I guess that is up to the man himself. I define my own greater good as the unattainable goal of being a good man. Unattainable because we are always going to fuck up in some way. Unattainable because it is kind of a shifting definition. It is always shifting because we enter different chapters of our lives where there are new responsibilities and expectations. There are new struggles and new successes. Defining being a good man without kids and a wife was a lot easier than figuring it out where I am now.
How Do I Define Being a Good Man Right Now?
I could probably write an entirely separate article on this topic but I shall keep it brief for you today. In the situations I find myself in right now, repairing a marriage, my relationships with my kids, my piece of shit 2003 Taurus, I would define it pretty dead on. A good man would accept the challenges and forces ahead as what they are. As is more commonly said as “it is what it is”. A good man will denounce bad decisions and have the courage to make the right ones, no matter how tough. A good man will leave the comfort zone of his life to make these relationships stronger. A good man will stop at nothing and power himself with nothing but a pure heart, to repair damaged relationships to be stronger than ever before.
How Do I Help Turn My Heart from Black and Crumbling to Shining and Never Breaking?
Honestly, I don’t know. I guess if I was that strong I wouldn’t be in the situations I am in right now. I do know a few things though. I have to try harder to put my fears and self-doubts aside. There are going to be many coming decisions that I will have to make that will just scare the piss out of me. I have to control my temper better. I’m an easily angered man. “A bitter old mountain man” I was once told. Anger has its place. But it does not have a place in taking the place of love, kindness, and understanding.
I have to show my love, my understanding, my willingness to watch my wife’s tears fall. I have to do my best to become a better dad. My kids don’t need a dad who can’t figure himself or anything out. What kind of example would that be?
That’s a lot of weight to carry and a lot of growing to do. But the goal is to become a good man, right? It’s unattainable at best, but where I am right now, where my manhood needs rebuilding and redefining itself, it’s still a pretty clear goal. Grow, have courage, use strength, and carry on. The pressure I feel under now can be of great use to me. It can teach me. Help me to grow. Help me to show and be love to my family. And strengthen my heart into a form so beautiful and unbreakable.
Image of a Stone Heart courtesy of Shutterstock