There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves (by James Kavanaugh)

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with eager appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant’s world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove.
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant’s world,
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

In memory of my brother who died many years ago at the age of 40, I thought I would share this poem today for he was born on New Year’s Eve.  From what I understand it describes him – not wanting to be a corporate man, to do things his own way, to be unique and to be free.  Those are desires I also have.  Maybe it runs in the family?!  It’s not about money, or climbing any corporate ladder.  It’s about being your own man or person and living life on your own terms as best you can, and with just some allowance for paying the bills.

But this poem also speaks to a deeper spirituality and mysticism.  To be a a mystic doesn’t have much to do with greed or profit, or getting ahead, but with thoughts of snow, children, halloween, the color of leaves, candied apples, ferris wheels, distant train whistles, easter eggs, fragrant grass, and the beauty of the sky and stars.  I understand now that my brother was a mystic in his own way – for he loved the outdoors, nature and being in it.  Being a mystic has something to do with being aware of the gift of life, enjoying the simple pleasures of life and finding God in it all.

And lastly, the title in and of itself is telling and speaks to me also about being a pastor.  There are some men who are too gentle to live among the wolves in the church for very long also.  Ministry can be tough for those pastors who have people pleasing tendencies and gentle hearts and sensitive spirits.  A word for those who are gentle – meekness in the bible means, “power under control.”  And from the words of Paul to Timothy, it’s helpful to remember always, “God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self control.”  That you are gentle doesn’t mean you aren’t strong and powerful.

So, in many ways, I think I’m a lot like you Greg.  Neither of us ended up as an accountant like our Dad did!  I’m not in it for the money either.  And I enjoy being fit and finding pleasure and God in the simple things of life and perhaps most of all, like you did also, I have a gentle one to love.

So, in memory of you and as an invitation to a deeper life for me even now – peace be to your memory.  (And I wish I could have known you more.)