August 24th, 2010
My little brother moved into college today. He’s at Temple, preparing for his freshman year as a film student. He wants to be a producer–a career we knew he would pursue every since he was 4 years old, making and acting out movies by himself in the backyard. You know how some people are so talented that it’s evidenced at a ridiculously young age? Yea, Jonathan is one of those people. I know this because I was six years old when he was born, so I have had the privilege of watching him grow and mature and display his talent in various and entertaining ways.
As excited as I am for him, I have to look back and feel some what sad about the years passing so quickly.
You probably don’t know this, but my little brother and I had a very strained relationship while I was in growing up. And trust me, it was not his fault; it was mine.
Yea, sometimes he was annoying, but little brothers just are. Me, however, well, I was mean. Big sisters shouldn’t be mean. Bossy, maybe. Mean? Never.
But through all of those years, don’t ask me why, Jonathan still adored me. He still loved me. Wanted to hang out with me. Wanted hugs from me.
He still wanted the relationship that I certainly didn’t deserve.
It took about 13 years for sense to be knocked into me–it wasn’t until I was 19 and a sophomore in college that I realized how much I had taken Jonathan for granted. At that point he was almost to his breaking point, which in itself is a testimony to Jonathan’s patience and forgiveness, how many of you can put up with 13 years of attitude and, in some cases, neglect? I know I can’t!
By God’s grace the relationship was salvaged. I really had to swallow some pride and ask for some forgiveness that I desperately needed. I started to be more intentional about spending time with Jonathan when I was home from college and started to realize that not only was he not annoying, but he’s actually really fun.
We all have different personalities and respond differently to each personality we encounter. There are certain personalities that really bring out the best in you and some that bring out the worst, certain personalities that keep you in check, certain personalities that provide you with perfect camaraderie… Well, Jonathan’s personality is the last kind in my life–the kind that makes the relationship effortless. I’ve have only a few other friends with that same personality in my life and words can’t even describe how precious they are to me.
They are the friends that are similar enough to be able to talk to you about everything, supportive enough that they are always there for you, and different enough to pick up where you leave off.
That’s my little brother.
So when I say I’m sad it’s because I have only realized this about him in the past five years. I missed out on 13 years of a special camaraderie that most girls don’t have with their brothers. The temptation is to regret it, but what good does that do? One of the most beautiful song lyrics that I have ever heard says, "My heart beats way too fast to let regret sit in my lap; won’t let it pass me by again."
So I’m trying not to regret it. I’m learning from it. I strongly believe that all things work for our good. I am thankful that I have such a great appreciation for his friendship now. Had we not gone through those trials, we’d probably be more apathetic towards each other. We’re not. I know that I can’t wallow in the mistakes and immaturity of the past, I need to be focused on the present relationship and not "let it pass me by again."
So apart from this being a sentimental, I’m so proud of you post for my little brother, it’s a reminder to all of you that relationships really do matter–even those with your little brothers. Don’t be content to watch them pass by. Before Jonathan was my little brother, now he’s a dear friend. I don’t want any of you to miss out on that.
Plus, it is never, ever too late to fix a broken relationship. Since the reconciliation with Jonathan, I’ve grown so much closer with other members of my family. My mom, despite a somewhat strained relationship in the past, is now my best friend. And my relationships with my older brother and my dad are much deeper as well. I’ve tried so hard to mend other broken relationships too. Not all of them have worked out, but I don’t believe that we’re called or expected to fix every broken thing. All that we are required to do is look within ourselves and address the issues before us. If we need to say sorry to someone, then all we have to do is meaningfully say "I’m sorry", but we can’t force the other person to forgive us. That’s their prerogative.
Jonathan taught me that as well. He always loved me even though I didn’t deserve it. Most of us love until we realize that it’s not returned, or we want to make people love us. But that’s not our job. The job in front of us is to love one another–no strings attached.
So, Jonathan, I know I’ll probably get a weepy phone call from every member of the family once they have read this. You don’t have to call. You don’t have to say thanks, because this is my thank you to you and all that you have done for me.
Love ya, Li’l Brudder. You just keep scwapin’ along!
(Although I certainly won’t be opposed to you dedicating your first blockbuster to me when you’re a Hollywood producer, ok? )