A Brother’s Gift

Sometimes gifts come in the most unexpected packages.

Sometimes they are the very thing you didn’t even know you needed.

I sat in the airport terminal a couple of weeks ago, my heart literally torn, struggling to be in two places at once. We were about to board a plane for a long anticipated trip when I received word that my best friend’s brother had just passed away.

The past few days had been spent with Cheryl and—though I knew the prognosis was grave—I had somehow hoped I’d be back and able to be at her side when the end came. Instead I was miles away in body, even though my heart was right beside her and her precious family.

News like this prompts all kinds of thoughts, but especially the deep ones, the ones we sometimes internalize because facing them proves too hard. I realized the pain that Cheryl and her siblings faced at that moment was an agony that I just couldn’t imagine.

Almost without thinking, I began to text my own brother, sharing the news and—afterwards—odds and ends about a lot of nothing. Right before I boarded the plane for Dublin though, I received one last text from Kevin. I’ll never be the same after it.

I’m sorry to be saying this in a text instead of in person. But I love you. We don’t have six siblings. You are the only sister I’ll ever have and even though I don’t say it enough, I love you.

He was saying the very words that had been rolling around in my heart for the past week. All the times we’d talked about ‘nothing’ was really my way of just making contact with him. Watching Cheryl and her family face a premature good-bye was propelling me to search my own heart and my own relationships. It was a reminder to take hold of each day, each moment, and to love those dear to my heart with a fierce intensity. Tomorrow is not promised.

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14

Why is it that it is the hardest thing to say the simplest words? Or maybe—it’s just never easy to say the hard things, the things that touch our hearts the deepest and cause us to feel the most emotion. And yet this day was a reminder that it is only those simple sentiments that really amount to any substance at all. Give me someone who’ll speak to my heart instead of my head any day of the week. Those folks are far with few between and they are the real players on the stage of  my life.

I saved the message and read it several more times while away. I pray that I can find ways and words to let Kevin know much more often—as well as the others that I love—that they are treasures today. Tomorrow is not promised, but today is a day to love and to love deeply.

I’m thankful for the gift of my brother–my childhood playmate who is truly one of my best grown-up friends today. I’m thankful for the gift of his words on a day when I needed to hear them.

It was a gift in an unexpected package.

A gift I didn’t even know I needed, but surely…certainly…did.

3 Responses to A Brother’s Gift
  1. Barbie
    July 24, 2011 | 7:54 pm

    I am so sorry about your best friend’s brother. It is so important that we voice our love to one another, even in the simplest of forms. We just never know how long we have. What a precious gift you’ve been given in your brother! May God continue to bless and strengthen your relationship!

  2. Tracy B.
    July 25, 2011 | 9:33 am

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friend.

  3. Kathy
    July 26, 2011 | 5:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. too often we don’t communicate the “nothing” because we feel like it isn’t worth sharing or it’s just a waste of time, but that “nothing” is connection, that “nothing” is letting someone know you’re thinking of them.

    Thank you for this reminder today.