My Brother

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.          Psalm 133 (The Message)

As a nurse, I have met people at sometimes the worse seasons of their lives. I worked in critical care units at the hospital when people have been notified that family members were unexpectedly injured in horrific accidents. I have worked in hospice when family members are dying of incurable diseases. Unlike the movies, my experience tells me that people go through these times much the way they have traveled through the rest of their lives. Rarely do people have an “Aha moment” when they suddenly turn their life around, moving from a negative, critical person to a compassionate, kind person. And so I have been a witness to some family interactions that truly explain to me why we have so many reality shows now. There are some crazy families out there! I have wondered how they evolved into such dysfunction!

I did not come from a perfect family and did not have a perfect childhood. What I did have, and still do to this day, is an extraordinary relationship with my brother. He is celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend and I am thinking and praying for him. What brought us to this place where after all these years, we still have a great relationship?

Certainly our faith in God has been a foundation. Our parents did not talk about their faith but they did live their faith in front of us, especially our mother. She taught us how to pray as young children and showed us, by her example, that it is to God that you turn for every day needs and also in a crisis. Dad provided the ‘muscle’ that you faithfully kept the Sabbath unless you were falling down ill. You always gave to God the first fruits in your tithe even if you lost your job. God didn’t give up you – you do not hold out on God even if it is a “two penny” offering because that is all you have.

Maybe it was the difference in our ages. My brother was eight-years-old when I was born. Maybe that cut down on the arguments and need to be “right” or “first” or “best”. Other people compared us but I never felt the competition between us. We were very different in personality and the direction that our lives took and we seem to like that in each other. I’ve met other siblings that seem to need to criticize each other for being different and need to try to convince each other that “their way” is “better”.

I really cannot come to some secret formula for why my brother and I are close despite age differences and geographic distances. So in my prayers I am just grateful to God for this gift that I really never asked for. God does that sometimes. He gives a gift just out of His great love. This gift is over 50 years old and just keeps blessing me.

One day, we will all live together with our LORD and Savior, Jesus. It will be an eternal life with God’s wonderful gifts of harmony and unity that will characterize all of our relationships. It will be brothers and sisters living together and getting along. Why? Because our Father planned it that way! I’ve gotten a glimpse and I am looking forward to the whole picture!

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