Thursday, May 25, 2006

Here's to You, Brother!

I am the oldest of four siblings. I have two younger brothers and a younger sister. My youngest brother and I have always had a very strong bond. My sister and I get along alright. However, DW and I haven’t always gotten along. From the time he was born until he was about three, everything was fine. Then we started to fight and the fighting went on until I left for college. We seemed to hate each other and sometimes we fought so violently we had to go outside just so we literally wouldn’t kill each other. We are pretty much complete opposites: I love to read, DW only reads an occasional newspaper and the tv listings; I did well in school, DW didn’t (he could have but he was too apathetic); I wasn’t a very good athlete, DW was; though I’m a hick I’m a refined hick, DW is pretty much a straight-redneck; etc. Despite these differences we have grown closer the last several years. We’ve built upon the commonalities we share and have minimized the differences (perhaps the two major U.S. political parties should take lessons on how to work together from DW and I). We still live very different lives. But, that doesn’t really matter.

DW arrived home yesterday from a week-long training session near Chicago. He leaves for special training in three weeks. Two months later he’ll be going to Iraq for a year. I love my brother incredibly. I’ve told him this, but he hates that (at least he pretends to). I’m also incredibly proud of him. He got into a lot of trouble a few years ago. I was in college and he lost his two closest friends in one day in a non-alcohol related car crash. I sometimes think that if I had been around I would have been able to keep him from getting into the trouble with the law and everyone else that he did. It took awhile for him to get back on track, but he did. He walked away from God for awhile, too. But he came back. That fills me with hope. He’s got a lot of growing to do spiritually, but all of us do. The spiritual life is anything but stagnant. Christianity is all about freedom and growth. Anyway, I leave for the summer in five days. Once I leave, I might not ever see my brother again and that fills me with great sadness; so much sadness that tears well up in my eyes if I let myself think about it. At the same time, I’m really not worried. God is guiding both our paths and wherever our journeys will take us, I know that if nothing else in the end we will meet again. So, here's to you brother! I love you and I'm incredibly proud of you.

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