Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Brothers and Sisters...gotta love 'em!
Who will you "do life with" the longest?
Think about it...they show up on the scene relatively close to the same time you do. They're around during the growing-up years. They see you get married. They'll grow old along side you. There's a good chance that they'll leave this world the same decade you do.
In contrast, your spouse doesn't show up for a few decades. Your in-laws arrive midstream. Friends come sporadically throughout your timeline. Your children show up several chapters in. Your parents generally leave this world miles ahead of you.
My siblings are some of my all-time favorite people in this world. We've seen each other at our best and worst. We have memories of each other from all different phases in life. And no one on earth understands what those growing up years were like better than the siblings who went through it with you. Thank God for brothers and sisters!
One day, after talking with my brother Matt I realized he had done a wonderful thing in my life as an adult that I hadn't expected. Validation. Sure he had made me laugh over the years. He'd made me rip-snorting mad, too. But after all this time and all the life experiences, he had validated my thoughts and feelings just by understanding me. Sounds like a simple thing, but it was revolutionary for me. In the midst of the lessons on Grace, God had used Matt to validate the struggle I was in while trying to break free from the crazy cycle of legalism. And sometimes you just need to know you aren't crazy! Conversations with my brothers and sister kept me grounded and realistic. And they have helped me grow on this journey from legalism to grace.
Everyone deals with struggles and hurts and my siblings and I were no exception. My brothers both struggled with drowning the past in the liquid numbing agent of alcohol and masked pain with humor. My sister and I hid ours in peace-less striving of perfection and paralyzing guilt that robbed the joy out of life.
Now, as we get together as grown-ups, we laugh about the good times, the funny moments, the sweet memories like camping and vacationing. We tease each other about our quarks and remind each other to be kind because we hold the secrets to things known only by each other - Secrets worthy of blackmail! We can cry over the sad moments and the grief of missing dad in a way that connects us like no other.
Today, I write this as a love letter and a thank you note to my siblings. Matt, thank you for helping to make me into the person I am today. I learned my first relationship skills with you or on you, depending on how you look at it. You've seen my worst and yet you still love me. You still make me laugh like no one else and your insights have been some of the most helpful in my understanding of life, marriage and parenting. Jonny, thank you for being the one to who shares things so simply, honestly and to the point - that life is about people, not "stuff" and institutional structure. It's been awesome to see your strength and determination this year. I look forward to more years of getting to know you even better. Your tenderheartedness is one of your most enduring qualities and I love that about you. And Cathi, you've gone from being my sweet "little" sister to my friend and sister in Christ. You've encouraged me, challenged me and inspired me these past years and my life looks different because of the love and grace you have shared with me. You are like that "iron on iron", getting the sharpening sparks to fly. No one's conversations have lingered in my mind like the ones we've had. Thank you for being my best friend!
I am truly blessed to have you for my siblings! I'm glad we get to "do life" together and hope we have many more. My life really is richer because you are in it! And honestly, I really like you guys!