Dear Brother (AKA Chicken Legs),
Things don’t always go as we expect, anticipate or hope. Truly from the bottom of my heart I am deeply burdened for you in this season. You are my brother – we are blood and as we’ve seen over the years this means so much. We have grown, we have learned, we have made mistakes together and we’ve laughed at each other and together. Neither of us are perfect; especially me. I could list many, many things about myself which need correction, reproof and rebuke. Thankfully by God’s grace I am working on them and He is healing, shaping and showing me how He’s already forgiven me. I’m grateful.
However, this is not about me. It’s not even about you. It’s about us.
Me and you share something very few brothers by blood could actually say – things I cannot wait to tell your son and my nephew. Can you imagine the day we get to tell him how we both almost died, pretty much exactly a year apart on the same day? Can you imagine the stories we can tell him of God’s miraculous provision saving his father and his nephew? Can you imagine the way we will get to illustrate how great and faithful our Jesus is? Can you imagine the ways we will get to pull him into our celebrations as he begins to understand just how important the fourth of July is to us Welch’s?
My brother, you know I love you. I have always loved you. You are my older brother but not my big brother. I’m thankful you’re my older brother. Sure, there was the time you sold me Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sleeping bags (seriously, how good of a story is that), but it’s something to laugh about now. Yes, there have been arguments and actions which have ripped and torn apart.
We have gone from close to distant to recovering.
Healing is not instantaneous; reconciliation is a process. I’m sorry for the ways I’ve not aided and abated in this process. I’m sorry I was so resistant to it. I’m sorry I had so much to heal from before I could get to that place. I’m sorry it took holding my precious, little nephew to realize how strong the ties of family are. I’m sorry, that for a season, I was not an advocate of unparalleled means.
What hurt me so much was how much I loved you. Were my expectations for our relationship and what I always longed and wanted out of an older brother what actually matched reality? As I think about it, I’m curious what your expectations were for a little brother. I wonder what you wanted and expected our relationship to be. Did I live up to your expectations? Truthfully, I doubt I do, because we are both learning this on the fly.
It’s funny because God has blessed me with an incredible gift of communication. He’s gifted me with the ability to communicate verbally, but also even better with the written word. I’m thankful for this gift. What’s intriguing though is how this gift all got started in the first place. Do you remember it? Do you remember how ashamed and embarrassed I was of when I first started to write? Do you remember “The Wonderful World of Chubbs”? You were the first person I ever let in to see the madness. You, as my older brother, encouraged me to delve more into writing – despite my hesitation.
I’m probably not the writer I am today without you. I probably never would have found my voice without your encouragement. I’m thankful for this – more then I’ve ever realized or thought.
When our lovely grandmother passed away and we drove out to Arizona with our parents and us spent a long weekend in the 520, this is some of my favorite memories we’ve had as brothers and friends. I was excited. It was a great time with my older brother. I even remember our late nights we had together hanging in the hot tub as our parents slept. We hung, talked and were real. These are still some of my favorite memories.
I could write and write of these stories and moments. I could write and write of the pain we have caused each other over the years, but in the end that is family. What I know is I miss you. What I know is that I’m not okay with what we are, or were. What I know is that God has done a mighty work in me the past several years. What I know, and want to affirm because I see it with my own two eyes, is how God is working in you and through you in this season. He is shaping you. He is molding you. He is showing you about what it means to be a disciple.
My brother, I’m sorry you have to go through this. I wish I could be in it with you more. I wish I could take it away. But I also know I cannot do this – it is yours. However, I can be your advocate. I can be praying for you. I can have your back.
I will always have your back.
I want your best.
I pray for your son.
I want him to meet Jesus at an early age. I want him to know how full life is when you walk with Jesus. I want him to not make the same mistakes we have made individually and together. I want him to learn how to throw a ball, make a tackle, shoot a basket and put a cat on the spinny chair of death (not that we’ve ever done that together), or even pretend to be a shark when his aunt is in the water with him (we brothers have never done that).
I want you to be the father and man He has created you to be.
You are worthy. You are able. You are not an idiot. You are not a failure. You could never be – for you are His beloved son in whom He is well pleased. He has made you worthy and this is your assurance.
I don’t know when you’ll read this or how I’ll show it to you. But know, tonight before I go to sleep, this is my prayer for you.
Your Little Bro,
P.S. “I’m not sick, I’m just a little unwell. Would you like a Red Vine? Screw it, just give some Cheeze Its.” Now introducing: “Call me maybe?”