Some of you who know me on Facebook have seen me go on comedic rabbit trails with my brother Kevin.
Now, Kevin is the funniest man I know, and he's also one of the most intuitive. His amazing wife is basically a supermodel with a heart of gold.
Here they are in 2014, posing for "Bald People With Beautiful Wives" monthly.
That was also the day we three went and saw "Fury". We were the youngest people in the theatre. Hey, it was a matinee.
As you can see, he's very protective. I mean, look at those biceps? Would you want to take him on? Clearly, someone would lose.
Also, was I not adorable?
I still use that same expression. Usually during anything to do with numbers.
Here's some more cuteness.
Yes, stripes were a wardrobe essential in our home. As were dimples, and thick hair. And the colour blue.
So, yes, my brother is amazing.
And sadly, he had a rough go of it for a while, but he turned that hardship around, and took what he learned and used that knowledge to help people.
To say he is a role model is an understatement.
He is wise beyond his (insert super high number here) years is putting it mildly.
He's someone I can turn to in good times and bad, and he ALWAYS makes me laugh so hard I hurt.
I cannot tell you how many people have said "Wow, when you and your brother get going on Facebook, I just sit back and watch! You two are hilarious!"
It's like when models get told they're pretty..."I know... you just wanna be us, don't you?"
Take a number, people. Get in line, etc.
Well, now for the cryptic part...Kevin still owes me 25 cents from when he crossed the rhododendron fence at camp.
Yup, serious infraction and punishable by twenty five cents!!!
If he tells you that I am the one in debt? He's lying!!!
Now, here's a picture of me posing happily with my other sibling.
Didn't see anything?
Well, that's because there's isn't such a picture.
And there may never ever be such a picture.
On one hand, and 3000 miles away, I have the very best brother.
And on the other hand, somewhere, I have the not-very best sibling. And no, I won't be dropping any kind of identification. Why?
Profit and loss, people.
Profit, which means getting more from something than you'd planned.
And loss. Meaning, gone.
No one in my immediate family can understand why this sibling has chosen to walk away from our parents, who are grandparents to six, but only know four, and the other two siblings.
Although, it does come down to personality and perception.
Some people like being king or queen. Bummer there's already someone on the throne.
So, we sort of know why, we just can't exactly understand how this person came to the why.
Yes, I miss what could've been. I miss the connection that only life long siblings have. I miss three of us conspiring to do something special for our parents. I miss knowing the ins and outs of this person's world.
But I will NOT bend and beg and bow to have this person back in my life. Here's the thing, there's a line that says "we choose our friends, but not our family".
Some of us do choose our family by the simple act of walking away.
Yes, I know that not all families are good, healthy or remotely loving. Some families are the worst possible environments for anyone.
But, do me a favour. Look around your table at a meal, or a big family get together. Count your profits, and then count your losses.
Yes, I know about addictions, and extreme behaviours and reasons that most people won't whisper, but...
If your losses are "people who wanted to be here but couldn't", for whatever normal healthy reason? Be thankful.
Those people still count as "profits".
But if those losses are "people who despise the rest of us and actively engage in cutting off all ties"?
The losses are theirs. Not yours.
My brother and I often talk about the act of emotional theft that our sibling engages in by building a wall between my parent's other two grandchildren. Someday, these college age people may decide to walk away from the emotional games their parent plays and try to connect with their grandparents.
But, it may be too late.
Remember, the father of the Prodigal Son waited long days and nights for him to return, and then they had a feast.
If you've done all you can, and you've done so with healthy emotional boundaries and refuse to be manipulated?
My prayers are with you.
But, just in case, leave a spot at the table. One never knows if the walls will come down.
If they do? Guard your heart, but show them the grace you'd want if this was you coming in from the cold.
Grace is a huge theme in my writing. The Prodigal lived in fear of total rejection, but what did his father do?
That's right, a feast.
Do we sense a theme here?
I hope I'll at least have the grace to make this sibling a pot of tea if they ever come back. Maybe sit down. Maybe speak nicely.
At least, that's what I hope I'll do when the day comes. I do think God will infuse me with a bit of spine that day.
If the day comes.
Until then, my brother is only a phone call away, and my loss is in God's hands.