A Path for the Searching Husband


I am tired of the sickening pace.

Of the disgusting effect social media has on people, on me.

Of the rancid effect today’s rhetoric has on the Christian witness, on my witness.

Of the muting of beauty through entertainment programming bent on vulgarity and the profane.

So, I’m headed to a simpler path. It’s a path called Meno.

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That’s the word Jesus used when he told his friends (otherwise known as his disciples) to abide in him. It means to wait in him, to be in settled union with him.

It’s a strange path for a man in our world, I admit. It actually requires something of me. The question is, “Am I willing to meet its demands?”

The Meno Path requires intimacy. And not the sexual kind Netflix flings at us.

Rather, the kind made up of obedience and sacrifice.

I must be willing to follow a power and authority higher than myself.

To follow commandments. Like the annoying kind that requires me not to have any other gods in my life. It’s not like I’m involved in pagan bull worship, bathing in blood.

But I might be bathing in my man cave or Xbox or materialism or sensualism or hedonism or other “isms” I like to disguise as “me time.”

The Meno Path requires commitment. I must commit to it to the point of death.

“Till death do us part” isn’t just a mantra for my marriage, it’s the battle cry of my decision to follow Jesus. It says, “Here I am, cross on my back. Let’s climb the path.”

And death might very well be physical. Jesus didn’t figuratively die on a cross. It certainly means to die to my self.

The further up the path I get, the more plain this kind of dying becomes. I begin naming things I didn’t know were obstacles.

Like the fussy way I respond when I don’t want to do something. Like ignoring a relational problem with my wife, hoping it will go away. Like staying up too late, because well, I deserve more time to myself.

The Meno Path is steep. It leads into the high rugged places. It is not for the weak of heart.

And I am often weak in my heart. So how do I continue?

I gain strength from the stillness of the high altitude. I find renewal in the silence, refreshment in the solitude, and clarity from a wilderness that strips me to my essentials.

The Meno Path requires hope. Hope emerges in the heights; where the winds try to push us off the path.

Hope connects to the deepest part of my heart. It’s also called desire or longing.

The world (the valley below) loves to twist desire. But up here, on The Meno Path, hope, desire, ambition, connect to something the world has lost: joy.

Joy is the gasp of my faith. The wonder-moment of life. The surprise in the face of beauty.

Joy culminates. It is desire’s highest development.

Joy signals fulfillment.

It is the arms-raised-moment in worship. That moment you’re ready in your heart to be taken off the mountain.

It is the moment when my longing finds home.

It is also that place of home.

It is the reward of faith, the prize of ambition, the spoils of love.

Joy looks like heaven.

The Meno Path requires forgiveness. Me of myself. Me of you. Me of her. Me of him. Over and over and over again.

There is no end to forgiveness.

Forgiveness cuts through bitterness.

It may weep on the shoreline of despair, but sees the path, and walks the path.

It may cry out in pain over unspoken wounds but always walks towards joy.

Forgiveness does not take opportunity to call out the wrongs of another person. It takes the blow, and bleeds, it takes the thorns and sings, it takes the nails and invites.

Forgiveness never fails.

The Meno Path gives life to life. 

In this world, I engage in the various callings (vocatio) of life, given by God. In each of these callings (vocatio), I am given a responsibility. They are: husband, father, child, worker, citizen, bride of Christ (Church).

The Meno Path weaves in and through these callings. When I abide. When I wait in Christ. When I find settled union with him. Each calling blossoms in the joy of intimacy with the Almighty.

I’ve found that abiding requires much in the eyes of the world. But the further up The Meno Path I climb, the less weight the requirements possess.

Instead, I find in them an incredible lightness and freedom, and breathe the air of heaven.

Timothy Willard
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Tim's authored four books, including Shine So Bright, a children's Christmas story, and is finishing his first novel. He and his wife, Christine, co-founded The Edges and are writing a book they hope will inspire married couples to stick together no matter what. He and Christine live in Charlotte, North Carolina with their three pixie-daughters. Sign-up here to follow their work.