I have a celebration to attend tomorrow. A 33rd birthday of a magnificent soul. A forgiving, strong, loving, Jesus freak. A man who I loved since he was a child. My brother from another mother.
Many moons ago, we were tightly woven. I cherished every moment we had together growing up. Even the ones where he was the annoying teenage boy clumsily navigating his way through puberty. I can’t remember a time where there wasn’t laughter involved. I can still hear his voice, proudly requesting my attention to his new dance moves. He has to know if it will impress the girls, and by God, it can’t wait.
We entered adulthood. Him slightly behind me, as he was younger than me. He was the only person in my life, at the time, brave enough to confront my alcoholism. I’ll never forget the grace and mercy in his eyes. He thought I was better than who I was being, and I hope to make him proud tomorrow.
Then, there came the moment. The fall out. The brokenness that can happen to human relationship, if you allow it, happened. We were no longer in right relationship. I can’t even begin to explain the pain that my heart-felt. My brother from another mother became someone I used to know.
For years, brick by brick, I built a wall made of pride. I formed the outward appearance of not caring. But inside, my heart was shattered. Until there came the day of forgiveness. I was walking back to work from a trip to the gas station. I worked in a shopping plaza and passed many stores on the way back. Out he came from the doors. There we were. Face to face. Nervously, I said “Hi.” Unexpectedly, he was there hugging me. A breakthrough. Apologies were given to each other, and the feeling of forgiveness, grace and mercy flowed through and around us.
There was an opportunity missed, though. Forgiveness is only the first step to repairing what was broken. There MUST be a next move. There MUST be forward motion in communion. For us, there was just that moment. We went on with life, separated. At least we had forgiveness. There was always this thought I had. We’ll see each other again. We’ll run into each other and give it another go. Waiting for convenient chances proved to be ineffective.
Last November my baby brother from another mother was murdered. I’m so angry! That murderer took my chances with him. He took it upon himself to deem his life unworthy of continuance. He’s gone and it’s because of evil that I don’t get another chance to get back to where we were.
Or is it? Is it really his fault all those years prior to this that I didn’t keep trying? No. It’s my fault. And I have wrestled with this ever since. I could’ve just set my foolish pride, my laziness aside and embraced him. Why the hell didn’t I keep grace moving?
I’ll keep wrestling with this as long as I keep expecting old friends to be around tomorrow. I’m not learning from this. I’m still prideful. I’m still the same old Connie. I’m still not keeping contact. I’m still not extending grace. I’m still merciless if someone has done me wrong. Even if it was my fault.
I hope this is something I can learn from. I hope this is something you can learn from. Life doesn’t really get in the way of true friendship. If you need to say sorry, say it. If you need to reach out to that someone, reach. Whatever you do, don’t take tomorrow for granted. It may sound cliché, but its true. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Embrace grace and mercy today.
Ben would’ve been 33 tomorrow. He would be, should-be, been celebrating it with us. He should be celebrating it with his family, his daughter, his friends. Please keep them in your prayers.