My brother and I spent a lot of time together the past few months of his life.  He had decided to move closer to us and our other brother and sister. He was in the process of moving into his little house and fixing it up the last few weeks of his life. He would call on his way home from work, knowing I would invite him over for dinner. He loved being with family. Even more so, the past few years of his life.

When he would come over, we would talk about everything, even politics on which we were in agreement. Yet, he never let it get to him like I did.

I had  gotten back spasms a couple of days and the pain was terrible. That kind of pain makes me have to be completely still, with nothing at all irritating me, or it gets worse. One night he had come over, I had spent the night before with the spasms. He asked how I was doing and I told him I happened to hear the word “obama” come out of my husband’s mouth the night before as I had been laying in bed with the pain gone for a few minutes. Heard that word and immediately, the spasms hit. I had told my husband through gritted teeth, “I don’t want to hear anything about that man. Don’t even mention his name to me right now.” My husband did what any decent husband would do: Looking bewildered, he sheepishly left the room on tip toe. My husband is a true saint.

When I told my brother this over a bowl of chili, he affectionately told me, “Brenda, you got some anger issues.” My husband nodding his head “yes” in agreement with him. I agreed with them.

One thing I admired in my brother is how calm, cool and collected he could be. Not always, as he had his moments like anyone else. But, he had a logic about him, that transcended my passionate being that could explode in outbursts of anger. One of the things I questioned over the years, was why God chose me to be the oldest child among my siblings. It always seemed Ricky would have been better at it, and oddly though, I still for the most part saw him as the oldest.

That night, had I known what lay in store for him and the rest of us,within a matter of two days, my conversation would have been different. I would not have been discussing things I have no control over, things that have enraged me in the past five years, things of little to no eternal value.

We look at a new born baby and we see such life, precious life. Still, that life as new as it is, begins to die the very moment the umbilical cord is cut. It no longer has anything sustaining it, like it once had in the mother’s womb.

Had I known my brother was reaching the end of his life, my words would have been much different. That has been my biggest regret leading up to his death. I would have mentioned more of  the things of God. Even though, we had spent considerable time over the past couple years talking about the things of God, still, my words would have been cautiously chosen the last few weeks of his life.

Instead, I ranted and raged about the things that made me angry. However, I am thankful that just as I knew my brother and his little idiocentricities, he knew mine and we outgrew any teasing over the years, and somehow began to see them for what they are, loving one another in spite of them. Which caused a deeper appreciation and respect for one another. Not everybody gets to have this chance.

People are dying all around us, whether we/they know it or not. Our bodies began to die the moment we take our first breath. The aging process will affect us all in one way or the other, sooner or later. Don’t believe me? Go take a look in the mirror and tell me if you look the same as you did 10 years ago, 20 years, 30, etc. I don’t know about you, but I look nothing like I did 26 years ago on my wedding day. False teachers can “claim” all they want about never getting sick, but the day will call upon them too, when their own bodies start showing signs of aging, of dying.

What to do? I suppose one place to start is here, which I am trying my best to be mindful of every day with the exception of one of my responses I gave to someone who passed through here esteeming obama — oh well, Rome was not built in a day and neither will I:

Starting where? With my mouth. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t pussy foot around issues and have little patience with those with opposing views. Simple fact is, and I speak bluntly, if your opinion does not line up with mine, do not expect me to respect it. I will not. To do so, would be esteeming it as high as my own. I will not do that, and if others disagree with me, I expect the same in return. However, respect you? Yes, that I will, unless someone gives me a reason not to.

I am letting all the readers know, that my desire is to speak life, to encourage, to edify, to build up. It is one thing to point out false teaching. A lot of us can do that. But to actually lift up one who is sick and dying, to speak peace and comfort to broken hearts, to speak truth in such a way that it sets captives free, to make love the greatest gift a reality, that is another thing. A new challenge for me. A new calling. This my friends, is my greatest desire.

No doubt, I may slip up every now and then, because as I say, this is a brand new thing for me. But, perhaps it is not a new thing to God. Maybe, just maybe, this is what He had planned all along.

 

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