The Gang


Once a year ‘the gang’ gets together. This year they were gathering in Breckenridge and they were coming to my house.  I was looking forward to seeing them and to hosting them.  I wanted the house to be cleaned up and welcoming.  I was wanting them to be impressed…..or at least, I wanted them to think well of me.  It was my turn to facilitate an adventure.  Hopefully we would push our limits and explore the edges of our comfort zone.

There are six of us in ‘the gang’ and once a year we get together for three days.  Our goal is to show up, have fun and be uniquely present in each others lives.  We have committed to being very open and honest with one another. Our hope and our goal is that our transparency and our vulnerability might facilitate our personal growth.  Ultimately, we want to encourage one another to be the men that God is calling us to be.  We want to be vibrantly alive!

How do we do this thing called growth?  It all started a few years ago when we said….in various ways, we want more.  We want more of life and we want our lives to make a difference.  Toward that end, we decided that once a year we would get together and report in.

This reporting in is a very humbling experience.  It feels a bit like an annual physical.  You know the drill…..the doctor asks you all sorts of questions, takes your pulse, your heart rate and ultimately asks you to bend over and cough.  It is all quite humbling but, in the end, very healthy.

We report in on life.  Each guy has 1.5 hours in the ‘hot seat’.  During that time he gives an update on his life, the highs, the lows and the in between. He lets us know how he has been doing on the projects that he said he wanted to work on. Then, we get to ask him questions.

The questions are not easy…..they are challenging/invasive.  They are the kind of questions you would hope that nobody would ever ask.  They are the kind of questions that speak of love and facilitate vulnerability.  The questions tempt me to be dishonest.  The care & concern behind the questions, coupled with my desire to grow, compels me to be honest.  My fear, if you know me… won’t like me, is diminished by their love.  The Gang knows me and they still like me.  They still love me! Maybe I can move forward.

At the end of our time in the hot seat, the gang prays for the guy in the hot seat.  There is something quite good and quite humbling about having others pray for me.  Those prayers seem to call out the best in me and for that I am thankful!

It has been said one cannot truly know God without knowing oneself and one cannot truly know oneself without knowing God. (Calvin)  That is very true!  I am convinced that ‘the gang’ helps me to know myself.  I am convinced that they help me to know God as they embody His love for me.  I am thankful for the guys in the gang and the growth they facilitate!

I pray that you might be blessed with a ‘gang’!

Be encouraged! Amp the Joy!

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7 thoughts on “The Gang

  1. I love this kind of realness and vulnerability. You said, “My fear, if you know me… won’t like me, is diminished by their love.” Wow! That is a beautiful picture of true love and community. Thanks for this inspiring post, and for modeling a life of adventure and aggressive growth. I might have to come visit you in Breckenridge (: It’s one of my favorite places on earth!

  2. This post was deeply moving Dick. Based on the fear our government is inpiring in many of us, having a faith to fall back on is like having a Constitution to refer to. It keeps you grounded. I miss you and Nance and wish we had hooked up when you were in Daytona several years ago. You’re a good man.
    Ed Connor

    • Ed, Great to hear from you!! I had no clue you were reading my stuff. To the extent it has connected with your heart….I am very thankful.
      I think of you quite often. I always think of you as I climb on a Concept 2. Nancy & I would love to see you….whenever and however that might be!
      Have a great day!
      Amp the Joy!

      • I retired from competitive rowing in 2012 but I still row my single recreationally off my dock at home. Picked up a foot infection after 30 years of great service from my stubbies. Been battling some of the new strains of resistant bacteria that have emerged in the past decade. Going in for some hyperbaric treatment to heal the surgical scar. So far no further impairment of walking ability. Rowing is the last mode of transport by which I can cover any ground without discomfort. Saw John in 2001 just after 9/11 when planes were grounded. Went back in 2006 0r 7 and had dinner wwith both Werner and John and got caught up on lives lived apart. He told me he had stayed in contact with you. I found a postcard with a photo of the Salathe on it from a friend who said cryptically “We need to do this”. Been trying to track that guy down for years. Gave a slideshow of the HalfDome climb to some friends here last year. I used the Eagles “Life in the Fast Lane ” to open. It always gets my adrenline flowing again (along with the Metamucil). Picked up a copy of Nat Geo at Barnes and Noble 4 years ago with a guy standing on THank God Ledge. My first reaction “Huh, NatGeo normally doesn’t photoshop the rope out of the picture. John enlightened me that the rope was left at Camp 4. Phenomenal. Never thought I’d see a free solo of a Grade 6 in my lifetime. And in under three hours. It took us that long to cook breakfast. Hope Nance and the boys are well. Write when you get time and bring me up to date. Not sure how to send photos on this format. Let me know if you have another e-mail where I can forward some stuff to you. All the best.