April 16, 2018
Today is my younger brother’s birthday. Celebration of this day is mine as well as his, simply because as a child of two I wanted a little brother and that feeling has never changed.
When my son Josh -- whose life is the initial subject of my book Walking at the Speed of Light -- died at age 33, my brother mourned with us. From that point on, he has been a source of understanding, compassion, and support. The combination of being my brother and being Josh’s uncle is a major factor, of course, in his support. But beyond that, his character and his religious faith are an equal factor.
If there is one lesson that stands out as a result of my life experiences, it is that God does not intend that we cure ourselves, pick ourselves up with our own “bootstraps,” or in any other way do everything alone. Notice Jesus’ wording: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” This is neither a suggestion nor an offer. It is a command! His expectation of us is that we will depend on Him, follow Him, and accept His help and grace.
Then He offers us the goodness of others in our lives to further the help and grace. Whether it has been my brother’s love, my husband’s commitment, my daughter’s empathy, my best friend’s deep faith, or the outreach of acquaintances and even strangers – the combination has reflected and augmented God’s mercy. My part included belief and acceptance above the effort I made on my own behalf.
The way out of the darkness varies for each individual, but the elements of God’s mercy and others’ compassion are essential. Because of God’s plan, the only debt we owe beyond our faith is true gratitude to Him and others. Is it any wonder that I spend my brother’s birthday celebrating, honoring him, and feeling thankful beyond words for his healing presence in my life?