You’re each in your own worlds a bit these days, high school and college, relationships and summertime, work and landscaping and extra physics prep and climbing trees. You’re together in some of those worlds, when you disappear into the cave of the living room to play video games or watch Duck Dynasty or the Sox game.
I don’t think I tell you often enough how much you have been teaching me.
Take that drive home for instance, the other night, when you were willing to listen to me while we played Eric Church off my iPod, how you told me about your excitement for our someday-families being close to each other, about the cousins we haven’t ever had before, about the wonder, about the time. You and I don’t always talk about the future, and we’re in a forever competition about who knows more Harry Potter trivia (you do, but I will never give up the fight on it), but when you said that I could feel that future smile at us from wherever it lives right now. I could imagine it, all the siblings drawn closer together, children and spouses and laughter, more food than we could possibly eat, the sun lingering on the horizon line just for us, just for those summers.
You heard me, and I heard that you have a bigger heart and a braver one and that man, I have so much to learn from you about the kind of love that really forgives and forgets and chooses joy even when we’re pissed off. Do you know that? That those years of Calvin and Hobbes at the kitchen table, the years of us eating with paper napkins and a simply set table and not having the cable or the new computers – that all of that, it has made you a tremendous man? This past winter, when I realized I was homesick for you even though we live in the same house, I tramped out through the snow to where you were creating a different world, your imagination still wilder and wider than most, and you taught me how to climb the tree and look out over the back yard, even though I’m scared of heights? Do you remember that? And how you taught me about building your own forge from the bits of old metal we don’t need anymore laying around behind the shed and even though we didn’t say much afterwards, that afternoon I sat on my bed and cried and laughed with God that you, my youngest brother, are who you are.
And then there are the coffee mornings, older younger brother, and how we slip into a routine without realizing it, our hearts beating out on our sleeves, in the quiet space we draw between eggs and toast and unlimited refills. There are those mornings when I confess my jealousy to you, where you teach me how to ask forgiveness, really ask for it, where I tell you that I am afraid I might never find what I’m looking for and you so gently remind me how much of it has already found me.
You and I drying the dishes while the kids we love refuse to fall asleep and their parents will be home soon? You and I watching Raylan (me terrified), the house gone to bed? You teach me to love the every day and to be watchful over the people I love. You teach me to care more about the condition of my kindness than my clothes and to treat others with more respect than I would probably offer on my own. I run upstairs to you in the midst of the visit that is changing my life and you’re awake, and we lie on our mattresses and talk into the night about how this is becoming real, and you’re there with wisdom and patience and you remind me that God is good. And on the drive home from church and lunch I caught my breath again because I saw a truck that looked like yours and I remembered that in our family you are always the first to offer peace to our hearts and slowest to anger and in this, God shows me what it means to love as He loves. I saw a truck that looked like yours, and I just had to smile. What a gift you are.
So brothers, who are so different and yet of one mind, all I wanted to ramble about in this blog post, which has gone on a long while now, is that you teach me, and you remind me, between Duck Dynasty and the grill and the summertime, that there is not one thing in this world quite like having brothers – and not one thing in this world like you.