“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Twenty years ago David Rutherford and I scraped up a few bucks, packed a Honda Civic, and headed for a weekend of hiking in the Sacramento Mountains of Lincoln National Park in New Mexico. Twenty years later, over 100 other gentlemen have joined us on our annual adventure. May 2014 will mark our 20th annual event.
The May Club is now a tradition woven into the fabric of my life. Some of my greatest mountain top experiences were during our trips and most of my inner circle of friends participate. Now our sons are growing up and joining us on our trips and continuing our tradition.
Over twenty years we’ve climbed mountains, rafted rivers, surfed oceans, hiked desert, skied lakes, kayaked bays, hunted game, rappelled cliffs and laughed a truckload in-between.
Friends from high school, college, church, neighbors and work join me each year, and I’m pleased that the group has grown out of my circles and into others.
More important than our annual trip are the life experiences in-between. Some have been through marriage, divorce, birth, death and more. The group is there to support them in the true sense of a church community. Each of them is a part of my extended family and we all have experienced joy and loss at varying times.
“My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” Job 16: 20-21
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
We don’t always agree. Most of us have strong opinions. But it is a privilege to be surrounded by people that make you better. Because of their counsel and concern I have improved and matured. Friends don’t tell you what you want to hear, or what makes you feel ok about a situation - they tell you the truth and what you must hear.
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27: 5-6
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9
Thanks to this crew my life is full of adventure. One thing that is for certain about adventure; it lacks joy when it is not shared.
All my great adventures can be relived because my wife, kids or friends were there to share in the moment. How do you describe the sunset? It is hard to do, but if it was shared it is mutually understood. Only Mark and I know how long and difficult it was to climb Mt Harvard in the fresh snow. Only John and I know how cold it was on Gray’s and Torrey’s one October. Only Richard, Ryan, Rob and I understand the fun of skiing in Austria in a surprise winter storm. Only Brian and I talk about how hot is was in Arches National Park on August.
Each year as we are head out on new adventures we laugh, cringe, and congratulate on adventures past.
I don’t recall ever being invited to climb mountains, camp in the backwoods, or trek deserts, so I decided to plan things and incite others. I would encourage you to do the same. Everyone is waiting for an invitation and there is no better way to build a friendship than while on a shared adventure.
So this post is to say thanks to the 100 friends I’ve had the privilege of knowing and thanks for the opportunity to be included in your lives. I hope we enjoy many more years.