My childhood has many a memory of being hog-tied or noogied. There were only two of us: my brother and me. So when it came time for memory making on a Saturday sometimes his options were pretty closed.
We raced the go-cart and RC cars. As we got older our friend pools blended and I had the great opportunity to share a lot of cool people with Ian, my big brother. I grew up and moved away and cried because I missed his quirky things. Like how often he brushed his teeth or how much penutbutter he could consume. As teenagers we went through those 5 lb Peter Pan cans like bread at a duck pond. And I loved him.
We became men. Were each other's best men. We had our lives.
Then his fell apart. His marriage. His job. His everything fell to pieces. He called me weeping. He tried to piece things back together. Relationships. Career. Family. Financial. God. You know, the little things in life. I watched as the entirety of who he was collapsed and he went supernova. And I loved him.
Today my brother reaches 1 year of sobriety from sex addiction and co-codependency and maybe something else but good Lord I think that's enough. He has been consumed by what I think all men struggle with: Lust. That terrifying 4 letter word that us fellas are too afraid to talk about. Too afraid to bring into the light. And it conquered him. For a little while.
I read the psalms a lot and they often make me think of my brother. Here's part of 40:
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
And that describes my brother. Whom God has lifted from the crap of sin and shame and grief and pain and given a new life. He has given him a wife who loves him more completely than any other woman could. It's amazing. How you ask? Because Jesus Christ is the Transformer of men and He has made my big brother someone new. He is not the Addict. He is the Blessed man who trusts the Lord. He is not the black sheep. He is a fellow sheep knelt beside me before our Great Shepherd who would not leave him in the slime. Who would not leave him in the pit. Who took my brother, whom I love, and loved him as I never could. Who took him out and lifted him up and set his feet on the rock and gave him a firm place to stand at last.
For I am a little brother. One who is prouder of his big brother than I am of any other man. And I love him. He represents the grace of God to me. Not becasue he is perfect but because he is redeemed. Because he had the courage to bring the darkness to Christ and let Him change it to light. Because he has fought the good fight. Not because he always has but because he did when it was hardest of all. And he has a new song to sing; a hymn of praise to our God who takes men from their darkness and makes them someone new.
I love you Ian. I am proud of you. Happy First year, big brother.