Occasionally in the last few weeks I have been transported back into my childhood, vividly experiencing the sights, smells and feelings of what seems like another life ago. Family is complicated. Mine is intertwined and layered, and so honestly, I have the not so wonderful ability to build some neat little walls around the “big family” while placing my focus squarely on the family that lives under my roof. Alas, as my Phoenix process continues, the tap, tap, tap of the hammer tears at these boundaries, and I am reminded that the love that I am trying to more clearly show to those around me, could also be extended to those that are also dear to me but may not be aware.
I met my step-brother when I was eight and he was thirteen. Accustomed to having my own show until that time, I was unclear if I appreciated the intrusion. He started visiting regularly, lived with us for a year or so and during that time, life was a mix of torture and bliss. While I finally had someone to ride bikes with and talk to, unfortunately, his favorite pastime was to scare me. Whether driving all crazy with me on the back of his motorcycle or torturing me with my weakness of scary movies, his eyes would literally twinkle when he would come up with some devious plan like convincing me to ride bikes through the woods and then start whispering the Friday the 13th spooky chant. He would do stupid stuff like blow fire out of his mouth like his favorite band KISS, and I just as stupid, would watch him and almost get my hair burned—more than once– in the process. When I think back about it, the best part about that time with him was that he would not let me take myself so seriously. While completely horrified, I found myself laughing a lot. He was….a brother.
Eventually, he grew up, married a wonderful woman, became a youth pastor, had three fantastic kids and centers his world around showing the love of Christ with his big heart and funny sayings. I moved away and we lost touch, It has been years since I have seen him. This last week he had a brain hemorrhage and as he slowly recovers, our relationship has been on my mind. When I read on Facebook my niece’s comments about how she was feeling scared and alone as her father lie in a hospital bed, I felt ashamed. Where did the time go and where was the effort to maintain these relationships? Distance with relationships is not unusual, I recognize that. In our transient world, real effort needs to be made to carve out time to the ones outside of our local “community.” There seems to be so little extra hours in the day to connect with old friends, distant family, or even the world in need. How do we commit ourselves to do our part? Are we willing to let the family reunions subside; willing to sacrifice the vacation to Yellowstone for the vacation to anywhere USA for a family visit? I do not come with answers today….just the question that I’m left with after learning about this life threatening situation via social media……am I happy about where ALL of my relationships stand? Are you?
Oh Stephanie, your brother loves you very much. He talks OFTEN about you and how he tormented you. (I’m so so sorry.) I share your questions. My mom died suddenly from an aneurysm in 1999. I was raised by my dad, so our relationship was different. Our last conversation was when I called her to tell her I was expecting our 3rd child. I remember that she was in a talkative mood and I cut her short. After she died, I had regrets because I knew I hadn’t done all that I could through the years to maintain our relationship. I vowed to live life differently so I wouldn’t have those same regrets again. I’ve done okay in that sometimes, and not so okay at others. I am sad our families don’t really know each other. But I am thankful for the memory we made this past year. And the one where the four adults went and played miniature golf. I hope we have the chance to make many more memories for us and our kids. Love you much!
Stopped by from #commenthour and enjoyed being here!
So sorry to hear that. I know it is difficult to keep connections sometimes even with all of our technological advances. I guess we all need to be more diligent in that arena.
Visiting from #commenthour.
Beautiful and thought provoking quote. Thank you for sharing!
I hope you are able to touch base and share memories. It sounds like you have lots you could laugh about him with now.
Visiting from comment hour! This is a wonderfully written post…
Great point. I haven’t been good about maintaining some of my relationships, and I am vowing to do better about that.
came from the SITS comment hour.
From reading your words it sounds nearly impossible that he could not know how much you love him. Your brother will be in my thoughts, hoping for a speedy recovery.
This was a beautiful post and such a good reminder.
Lovely post. Very relevant to me. A few weeks ago I had 4 relatives die in 7 days and a family friend diagnosed w/ stage 4 brain cancer. It was rough. And it made me realize not to take anyone for granted.
So sorry to hear about your step brother. Your story makes me reflect on my relationships. I do need to reach out to some of the people in my life. I hope your step brother gets well soon.
This is something that is definitely thought provoking. I think everyone has at least someone in their family that they have lost contact with and wonder how they are, but we never do take the extra step to forge again the tight connections that once were. We’re always too busy, our lives go in different directions… we’re good at making up excuses as to why we’ve lost touch with our loved ones, but if in the moment that something untowards happens as did with your step brother, it definitely puts our lives into focus. I too wish well for your step brother, and thank you for sharing such a profound post.
visiting from #commenthour
I am horrible at keeping in touch with people. I have great intentions to do so but, life happens. I need to practice more.
I’m in a constant of state of asking God to give me the strength to just love, love, love the people in my life in a way they really know it…. and also a constant state of feeling so disconnected from some of the people I love the most. It’s so tough, but worth fighting for. We were made for community!