I was able to experience this past week what I would call a miracle on several levels. God is so awesome and His plan is always, always, always good! In order to understand where I am coming from as I write this, I feel I need to give you some background so you will understand why I claim this as a work of God.
Up until about three years ago, my older brother and I have never had a good relationship. We really never had any kind of a relationship. What we had was horrible. It was toxic and it was evil. As a teen, my brother would swear that he was going to kill me before he died and I believed him. The times he lived with us (he went to live with my father and then with other relatives), I was in a constant state of fear. My brother will honestly tell you today how much he hated me growing up. He is truly humbled, remorseful and repentant of the way he had treated me (and my children) all these years and we have had many honest and open discussions about it. I never understood the depths of his hate for me from the time I was born, until a few years ago. There were times that several years would go by before there was any kind of contact between us.
It’s hard for me to imaging what my mother went through raising the two of us and the absolute chaos we must have been for her as children. It’s hard because I watch my two children who love each other dearly. Of course there has always been the normal sibling bickering and arguments but I have never had to experience the overwhelming drama my mother had to endure. She would tell us to be good to each other because some day we would need each other. I never believed her because I learned very early on in life that I could not depend on, nor trust, my brother. What I did not think about was that her statement went both ways and there came a time when my brother desperately needed me.
You see, I was not the only one my brother hurt over the years. He burned every bridge he ever crossed. When I say every, I mean EVERY. A few years ago he showed up on my doorstep, broken and humbled, asking for my help. My first response was no. He and his wife slept in their car that night in front of my house. The next morning, my heart was so burdened for him that I agreed to help but with very strong boundaries. There were amends he needed to make, not only to me, but to both of my children as well. It was a long and emotional process for all of us.
My brother and his wife lived with me for the next several months until they could get back on their feet. It was hard for me because I still did not trust him and certainly didn’t believe in him. During this time, my brother made a living amends to me. He did everything for me. He cleaned and cooked and anything else he could find to do to make my life easier. He will still do anything for me to this day, all I have to do is call. That in itself is a miracle.
Since he has moved out, we have had a good relationship. It’s not one of family hangouts and BBQ’s but it is one of mutual love and respect for each other, which is something we’ve never had before. On occasion we talk or he’ll stop by for a visit. It’s comfortable and I love it. I see my brother today as a broken man trying to pull his life back together and I no longer fear him… another miracle.
In the past 39 years, my brother and I have never been involved with each other for any of life’s significant events; graduations, weddings, child births (mine because he has no children), birthdays or anything else, with the exception of Thanksgiving dinners at relatives’ houses a couple of times. So, when he invited me to attend his graduation from the community college, I knew I had to go.
As I sat in the bleachers of the gymnasium where the ceremony was held last Wednesday night, I felt this overwhelming surge of emotion and started to cry. My brother has worked so hard these past three years to get his life back together. He has worked (something that he never did much of before), attended college, and managed to take care of his wife who is severely handicapped, all on his own. He has always been extremely gifted in the “smarts” area but never cared enough to apply himself to anything. Well he graduated Wednesday night with “Highest Honors” and I was there to cheer him on.
It has taken 51 years for my brother to get his life on track and to stand up and be the man God wants him to be and I am so incredibly proud of him. I was so honored to be there and watch him receive his diploma. I can honestly say today that I love my brother and I am proud of the man he has become.