To say my brother and I don't always agree is one of those epic understatements in life. If there is a spectrum on politics, worldview, etc, we always seem to find ourselves on the extreme opposite ends. It's generated some... conflict in the past. :)
I had a coworker once say it's times of stress and ultimate challenges that reveal who a person is. This sickness has happened to me, and my brother, once again, as he has done so many times in the past, showed his best to help protect me as loving brother. As a result of his tremendous love and care he and his family has shown this last weekend, I'd like to publicly repent of any animosity I've ever held against him.
Here's why: when this thing happened, he set aside precious time to drive cross-country to bless us and serve us. They cooked lunches, dinners, bought dinners, and most of all blessed us with a good visit so we could have a couple days where we weren't thinking about that other thing. It was an awesome time. We even had a 1 minute disagreement. He was right... I was wrong. That was good for me too.
It's 3:20 AM... I can't sleep because God is reminding me of many things... most of all at this moment, that He has provided me a family, and specifically, an awesome brother. His behaviors this weekend are consistent with what he's always done: gotten my back.
I remember when I was 7 or 8. I was foolish and got myself into a fight, perpetuated the fight, and I ended up with a punch in the face. He tried to keep me out of trouble, but after I got a fist sandwich, he stepped in and was about to slam dunk the kid into a trash can before the neighbor saved him. I never heard from that guy again... why? Because, my brother had my back.
Another one: I was depressed as a freshman at the Air Force Academy... struggling was a major understatement. He wrote me letters that reminded me of good things, telling me in many ways he was watching out for me, and I can't tell you how much he had my back and how much they would motivate me to go back into the fray and stick it out. If I had fled that trial, my life would have been horribly altered.
There are many more, but this one I'll never forget. We lived in the middle east. Small groups of radicals added a new kind of activity to their villainy: driving into western-occupied compounds and shooting them up and killing people. This was happening about 25 miles from us... and we didn't have even a compound to protect us... we lived in the middle of everything. We decided it was time to go home. I mentioned to my mom that before we could leave we needed the right paperwork so our baby, (now ironically good friends with my brother's daughter), could come home with us, and it was taking time to get processed. My brother had my back again. He aggressively activated his local congressman, and the situation went from me bugging the embassy for updates to the embassy contacting me to get it done. I hadn't seen a government agency move so quickly since Schwarzkopf visited Iraq. We got home quickly, and we were safe. Remember that "my brother is bigger than your brother" thing? Yah, well my brother scares US Embassies. Can yours do that? :)
He's always had my back... because he's always loved me... even when I treated him with contempt.
I don't deserve such love.
So, even if for a moment, I need to say something: I love my brother, and I'm proud to call him my brother.
Besides his loving oversight, there are many things I esteem about him. He possesses a dedication and mastery of his life's profession that vastly exceeds mine. His positive influences on hundreds or thousands of kids dwarfs the insignificance of any business accomplishments I've had and his impact will be better known. If he couple be paid relative for his impact to society, he'd be a millionaire. It's unfortunate that many don't see it that way. In addition, he's married to an absolute sweetheart, and his daughter is as precious as they come. I'm so glad she and one of my daughters stay in touch. Heck, even our youngest who is particularly guarded with strangers was excited to meet her before she came and was sad to see her go... really wanted her to say.
It's clear after this weekend that of my many mistakes, one of them has been not treating my brother with the respect and love he deserves. Even my attempts to share what God has done in my life are particularly tainted with discussions I made about me vs. him, when they should have just been humbly about Jesus. It's not the Gospel when it's about me.
I'm proud of my brother. I'm proud to be his younger brother. I love my brother. I thank God for the gift of my brother.