Ed Aponte
Proud MDI Member

When it comes down to my life, it is all about context.

It’s more about the way I am being than what is actually happening to me.

My daughter recently broke the growth plate at the base of her big toe in her left foot. She has to have a cast on her foot for a month and a boot for another month. Unfortunately, we found this out the week before we went to Panama City, Florida for the weekend.

Going to the beach when you are wearing a cast does not seem like a very promising time for a 10-year-old girl. I could tell that she was deeply bothered by this, and her demeanor changed drastically from the jovial young lady I know her to be.

So I approached her in her room and let her know that I knew how she was feeling about our upcoming trip and that her feelings were very reasonable. But an idea came to mind that changed the way she would be from that point on. I told her that we often find what we are looking for, and if she was looking to have a bad time I could guarantee her that she would find just that. Instead, I challenged us as a family to be “looking for fun!” And that we did! We looked for fun all weekend long. We had a great time and that context has continued at my home for a couple of weeks now.

So why the long story about my daughter’s attitude?

My life at this time could not be better, but it has not always been this way. Three years ago I went through the holiday season as a single man for the first time in 10 years. The last thing I wanted to do was to go to Thanksgiving dinner, buy presents, attend holiday parties or celebrate the coming of a new year. I just wanted to be alone, and at times I didn’t want to be at all. Just being was a hard thing to do. Being a father, boss, leader, son, friend or man was a chore. It was hard for me to have a positive context when I didn’t want to be any which way.

The holidays are a fabulous time to reconnect with love ones, to slow down and be a father, boss, leader, son friend or man with those you love. But to some, the holidays are a time of sadness and longing for something or someone no longer present.

If this is you, I want you to know that I get it and that your pain is real. I also want you to know that you are not alone. If you are on a men’s team, you belong to a circle of men who care about YOU and who will get you through this season of your life. The same circle that will make sure you don’t just survive but also thrive in your life.

The challenge is for you to fight the instinct of being alone in your suffering and instead plug into one of our teams of men. I find it a lot easier to have a positive context when I am actively plugged into a team of men who are vested in my life. I know that your pain will not go away until it’s time, but the way you are being, your context, will direct you to a place of healing, forgiveness and peace. There is nothing too big or drastic that your men can’t direct you to the help you need. There’s no reason for you, one of us, to feel alone during the holidays.

As hard as it may seem I challenge you to choose a context, a way of being, during the holiday season that will help you thrive instead of letting a context choose you.

As for me and my family, we will be “looking for fun!”