Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exceeding Expectations by Allen Brailsford

Let's just say that I was never into Men's Groups as such.  In New Jersey I was an active member and officer of a United Methodist Church and there was the United Methodist Men's Group that I did not participate in because I felt that it was just a bunch of guys getting together talking about women and telling lousy jokes.  I may have been wrong about that, but it is what I believed.  

When I was approached about joining the Men's Wisdom Works group at OLLI UNC Asheville I was a bit suspicious, but curious nonetheless.  I was approached in an effort to attract more minorities to the group.  I arranged a meeting with the director of the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council and two members of Men's Wisdom Works, MWW.  Then and there, I decided I would join because the message of MWW resonated with me.

At our first meeting we all introduced ourselves and we talked a little about why we joined MWW.  From that discussion a couple of really powerful stories emerged.  One man said that he had been given the blessing of knowing that he was terminal and had approximately 2-5 years to live.  Another man told us about his wife who requires 24/7 care due to her living in the late stages of Alzheimer's Disease.  At that point I realized this was no joke.  Then the comedian in our group told his story giving us a bit of a respite from the grim realities of the other stories.

After the depth of such a first meeting I knew this was a group I could participate in.  When we learned that each group needs to appoint its own facilitator I volunteered and I've been facilitating for nearly two years now.

Our meetings are not all somber and serious.  We enjoy some real belly laughs, but most of all we support each other for whatever issue and need come up.

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