Friday, April 08, 2005

A Tale Of Two Siblings

An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel. - Proverbs 18:19

Two members of my family were born on this date. One I've known for only a handful of years, the other I've been acquainted with since birth.

My niece-in-law Danielle is the relative with the shortest track record, she's also I think now officially my shortest relative, but that's beside the point. Although we've seen each other in the past few years for only for a few days here or a week there, we communicate fairly regularly through our family website, email, and the like. She even reads this blog on occasion...there's no accounting for taste.

Danielle is going to school to get her doctorate in check ups from the neck up. I think she took one look at our family and decided she'd never lack for test subjects.

Here she is with her husband Ben - my nephew and an all around good guy for a Preacher's kid, who became a Preacher.

Happy Birthday Danielle...I'm so glad you're in our lives. You are a blessing to this family.


The other birthday celebrant today is my eldest brother Stan. For more than 30 years on this day I've called Stan and mocked him a bit about his age. He's three years older than me.

For the past two weeks or more though I've been struggling with how I would handle today.

Stan has asked that I not be part of his life. "Asked" is putting it politely.

Stan and I have a lot in common. We've both worked in the same industry, albeit in different areas, our entire adult lives. We've shared great hardship and we've battled similar demons - conquered them too.

Stan's a little taller, more of an extrovert, has much more charisma and is better looking but we're not too dissimilar in appearance these days.

Stan Me

What we don't share are values. Stan's passion is politics and he's become somewhat anti-religious, equating almost all spiritual people with the "religious right." I really am not that political but my leanings and Stan's certainly don't line up in lockstep. There is no need to go into great detail but suffice it to say placing his picture on the left hand side of the page was deliberate and if he were to read this blog, which he doesn't, he'd probably ask that it be pushed further to the left.

Despite those differences we have managed to co-exist without too much difficulty on a superficial level for nearly 48 years and I thought only a year or so ago we were actually making great strides in finally finding true relationship. I thought we might truly get to "know" each other.

Then last November Stan made what were actually wrong assumptions about my core beliefs, stirred them into his election passions, and produced a Molotov cocktail of emotion in his mind that ignited on the eve of the Presidential election.

Some rather silly emails were exchanged which I mistakenly thought were a joke and then Stan told me never to speak to him again.

I tried apologizing. I tried forgiving.

It didn't work and in fact it seemed to make things worse.

Amy was extremely sick at the time and there was only so much in my emotional arsenal so I eventually waved the white flag and in the process waved goodbye to the thinly tethered relationship I had with Stan.

I woke up this morning and sat on the edge of our bed. I prayed for Stan...and for me.

I prayed one day we'll be able to see past our differences and truly see each other.

And I prayed he has a happy birthday too.