My little brother is in town…and we’re not letting him leave.
There’s something about siblings that can churn your insides and break your heart. Really they’re just these people, these completely individual beings with their own quirks and hopes and character flaws, and maybe you wouldn’t even chose to know them. They helped form you, though, maybe even more so than your parents.
The boy got a ride out here with another boy, the one who’s game for South Am travels, and upon his complicated arrival and confession of the lifestyle he’s been slowly killing himself with, my older brother and I turned into momma bears and formed a two-part shield around him. Well, three-part, because how do you deal with this much damage without the Holy Spirit?
The plans for this year, the whole not-buying-a-car and saving for South America, has radically changed. This is bigger than my travel dreams. This is my baby brother. Remember my baby brother? Remember catching snails and pretending we were X-Men? Remember when we’d fight, and he’d tell on me, but as soon as my parents tried to punish me he’d throw a fit about how he’d made it all up, how it’d been all his fault, and please don’t punish Jessie. Remember how you found him on horse tranquilizers that day and he was more of a zombie then than when we’d first put him on Ritalin as a child?
And remember how you wouldn’t hold his hand during dinner time prayers, because ewe. Don’t tell me you forgot your cutting remarks, your disdain your undisguised disgust at him as he grew up and found more and more illicit escape routes. Because he certainly didn’t forget.
I’ve never seen such wounds. I’ve never seen such need.
In this unexpected turn of events, it looks as if my older brother and I will be playing house the best we can and praying for healing and detox. And don’t give me that crap about how its not our responsibility, how its unfair or how we can barely take care of ourselves. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:8 “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
I don’t know what to say except that the three of us have lived separate, “big kid” lives long enough. Now we need each other, and we love each other fiercely.
And somehow, amidst all the problems, all the complexities, it somehow feels so safe and right for the three of us to be in the same room. I can’t speak for the boys, exactly, but man, it is home when we’re together. And we three will build a sanctuary for each other, a retreat from the chaos and bitterness the world so lavishly dishes out. We will wear compassion. We will experience and exhibit grace.
And sentiment aside…friends, you’ve never met a boy as fun as my little brother.