Monday, March 13, 2006

Last night, my family reconciled with my brother after nearly 15 months of tension and separation.

It feels really good.

I have 8 brothers and sisters, four boys and four girls. This brother is number two, 9 years younger than me. I'll call him Johnathan cause I don't know how he'd feel about me talking about him. He left home a few years ago, under less than happy circumstances. 16 months ago, he and his girlfriend had a little boy. For the longest time he couldn't hold down a job, and really had no place to live (but he's been at the same job now for close to a year, which is really awesome).

And then came the Christmas catastrophe.

I won't get into details, but at the family Christmas gathering (read: 40+ people) we (him verses me, my husband and parents) had a huge blow-up and he was asked to leave. There was talk of police and revenge by strong-armed buddies. It was probably the most horrific Christmas evening I've ever had.
And so he was...banished. Not allowed in my parents house. Not allowed near my kids. Weeks, months would go by and we wouldn't hear anything about him. His girlfriend would bring the baby by, sometimes my mom would babysit. But that was about it.

Spring, summer, Thanksgiving, another Christmas went by and the strain of a child gone from the nest was taking it's toll on my mom. Sometime after the new year, she started mentioning that maybe it was time to take a step, reach out.

Say Sorry.

I wasn't completely opposed to the idea. The anger of the night was long gone. Johnathan had simply...disappeared from my life. I told her I'd think about it.

She brought it up once or twice more, hesitant to push me. We're really good friends, my mom and I. I kept procrastinating.

And then something unbelievable happened. This brother, second one down, happens to be adopted. One of my sisters, working full time right now, saving money for college, notices this guy in another department who looks strikingly like our brother. She talks to him. Happens to mention it. He goes home, talks to his mom. Comes back to work...and drops the bombshell that he is Johnathan's birth brother. Not to get into the details of how Johnathan came to my family, but...his birth family was thrilled to have 'found' him. Overnight he suddenly had a family that didn't care how he was leading his life and embraced him with open arms.

My mom was crushed. And I, had lost my chance.

But you know, it's a funny thing, kids who have been taken from their families and adopted out. There's often a darn good reason. And that reason seldom changes, even after 18 years. In the weeks following this upheaval, it became obvious that all was not well in bio-land. And so the opportunity came to invite him over last night to my parents. It was brother number four's birthday, so we all had some cake...and sat around nervously, uncomfortably, wondering who was going to say something first.
Well, perhaps everyone else was wondering, but I knew that I had to say it. I had been...a catalyst for the blow-up in the first place. And I'm the oldest. Some things just have to be done by the oldest.
So I prayed that God would give me the words that would convince him that I really did still love him. That I was tired of the strain and splinter that had become of our family. And God came through, because, I think it happened.


I meant it, Johnathan.


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