My brothers and I haven't ever been all that close. We are between 3 - 5 years apart in age and galaxies apart in taste, likes, dislikes, and personality. Obviously, growing up in the same family had bred some bizarre strains of similarity between us (I.e. we LOVE to debate everything, all with the enthusiasm of a rabid badger. It scares people sometimes). But it just never seemed like the bits that correlated were enough to outweigh the kilos of discord between us. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my horribly selfish heart before. Well she returns again to the scene in this story making a gigantic mess of everything and everyone. I was a jerk to Mike for most of our childhood.
As an adult, what I would later appreciate as unique, creative, inspired, and special, as a kid I foolishly named "weird." I didn't understand how he could stay inside day after day after day and just draw. I always knew he was something of a genius the way knowledge came so readily to him, how he could read a book in an hour that took me a week, but these qualities just further estranged him from me. My perfectionism hated the ease with which he learned while I struggled and struggled. His memory for minute details seemed flawless. I couldn't even remember what I did the previous weekend. So I made him miserable by my incessant critiques while he continually shamed me with his brains and wits.
In college we started to become better friends. He was so great at almost everything that hanging out with him could be very exciting and inspiring. Still, my evil nasty heart looked for ways to see me as "superior" to him, although I never suspected for a moment that was my intent. With 22+ years of self-deception at my back, I picked and picked at my brother over a myriad of stupid and pointless things. I compared my strengths with his weaknesses and then happily congratulated myself on my apparent "success." At the end of the day, I was still that little jerk of a kid, a passive aggressive bully in the first order.
and yet God showed grace again...
By all accounts, Mike and I should never interact at all based on our past, but we do and I am so, so, so thankful for it! God brought about a heart-revolution in me toward Mike, revealing the great importance of loving one's family as they are, where they are and trusting in His power to make all things new! I can't tell you what a blessing seeing Mike these past 3 years have been! He's incredibly witty, hilarious, intelligent, artistic, creative, tender-hearted, compassionate, spunky, inquisitive, and fun. He's the kind of guy you want at your wedding or party since he always entertains! I love him so much and am thankful every time I see him at family events that God soothed and continues to heal the horrible wounds my sin created between us. I love you, Mike, and I'm SO PROUD that you're my big brother! I hope Jude can be a great, patient, and loving brother to Noah as you have been to me! Love you!