SIBLINGS ARE SUCH AN INTERESTING ENTITY.
THERE HAVE BEEN TWO TIMES IN MY LIFE THAT I'VE HAD THE COGNIZANT THOUGHT "I WISH MY BROTHER JAMES WAS HERE". THERE HAVE BEEN MAYBE THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIMES I'VE THOUGHT THAT OF MY BROTHER CARTER.
THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, I'VE ALWAYS STOPPED TO READ ARTICLES DISCUSSING BIRTH ORDER AND SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS. IT'S MY BELIEF THAT UNTIL YOU PARENT A CHILD, THE ONLY SCENARIO WHERE YOU EXPERIENCE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR SOMEONE YOU DIDN'T CHOOSE TO BE IN YOUR LIFE IS FOR YOUR SIBLINGS. DID I FIGHT WITH MY SIBLING? YES. DID I TELL THEM I HATED THEM? ON MANY OCCASIONS. WAS IT EVER TRUE? NEVER.
HOW CAN I PUT INTO WORDS THE LOVE I I HAVE FOR SOMEONE THAT I NEVER CHOSE I BE IN MY LIFE? THOSE CLOSE TO ME KNOW I AM VERY SELECTIVE WITH THE PEOPLE I LET "IN". I HAVE MANY ACQUAINTANCES, FEW FRIENDS. YET, HERE ARE TWO HUMANS WHO I HAD NO SAY IN BEING LINKED TO (FOREVER, MIGHT I ADD) AND I THINK MY HEART JUST MIGHT STOP IF THEY WERE EVER TAKEN OUT OF MY LIFE. THAT ISN'T LOGICAL, THAT DOESN'T ADD UP, THAT'S NOT HOW WE CHOOSE OUR FRIENDS, OUR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS, OUR URBAN TRIBES.
THE FIRST TIME I HAD THE COGNIZANT THOUGHT OF WISHING MY BROTHER JAMES WAS STANDING BESIDE ME WAS IN DUBLIN, IRELAND. I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT JAMES' SOUL LONGED FOR SOMEWHERE ELSE, SOMEWHERE REFERRED TO AS THE "OLD COUNTRY", WHERE LIFE WAS SIMPLE AND EASY. HE ISN'T OF THIS TIME, MERELY A VISITOR. ON THE COBBLESTONES OF DUBLIN STREETS, THE BREEZY OF BRIDGES OF THE GREEN ISLE, I KNEW THAT IN SOME PAST LIFE HE HAD BEEN THERE, HE HAD THRIVED THERE. LOOKING OUT ON THE EMERALD CITY - TRINITY COLLEGE, ST. STEPHEN'S GREEN, THE VIKING DISTRICT - MY HEART ACHED FOR HIM TO BE WITH ME, FOR TIME TO FAST FORWARD SO WE COULD TELL THE GRANDKIDS ABOUT THE TIME WE HAD IN THE PLACE OUR SPRINTS BELONGED. THREE DAYS IN DUBLIN MADE THE TWENTY YEARS OF PETTY SIBLING RIVALRY WORTH IT, AND I INSTANTLY UNDERSTOOD HIS HEART, WHO WE WAS, WHO HE IS, AND WHO I HOPE HE BECOMES.
THEN THERE'S B CARTER. WE HAD AN INTERESTING RELATIONSHIP GROWING UP BEING SO CLOSE IN AGE. OUR FRIENDS DATED EACH OTHER, WE WENT TO THE SAME HIGH SCHOOL DANCES, EVEN HAD A CLASS TOGETHER FOR A FEW DAYS. WHILE JAMES HAS ALWAYS BEEN LINKED SUBCONSCIOUSLY TO MY MOTHER'S SIDE, CARTER HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE NEXT GENERATION OF MY FATHER. I HESITATE TO ADMIT IT, BUT OUR PERSONALITIES SHARE SO MUCH. I STOOD ON A OUTLOOK, TAKING IN THE BEACHES, THREE CLIFFS BAY AND OXWICH, WHERE BRITISH AND AMERICAN TROOPS PRACTICED FOR THE INVASION OF NORMANDY - THE ROCKY SOUTH COAST OF WALES. I STOOD IN AWE, FIERCELY WISHING THAT TIME WOULD STAND STILL AND HE WOULD APPEAR. FOR WHATEVER REASON, WE BOTH DECIDED TO MAJOR IN HISTORY IN COLLEGE. WE ARE INTERESTED IN DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF HISTORY; NEVER THE LESS, WE SHARE THAT INTELLECTUAL LINK. THE HISTORY AND IMPORTANCE OF WHERE I STOOD LEFT ME EXHAUSTED, AND THE ONLY PERSON I WANTED TO DEBRIEF WITH WAS HIM. THE ONLY PERSON I WANTED TO THE DISCUSS THE "WHAT IFS" OF HISTORY WITH WAS HIM.
THERE ARE MOMENTS IN MY LIFE I WISH MY BROTHERS WOULD ACT DIFFERENT, SAY SOMETHING ELSE, OR CARE A LITTLE MORE. BUT I WOULDN'T CHANGE WHO THEY ARE, EVER, FOR NO AMOUNT OF MONEY, FOR NO DREAM VACATION; NOTHING CAN EVER ENTICE ME ENOUGH TO WISH THEM AWAY. I DIDN'T CHOOSE THEM, BUT GIVEN THE CHOICE I WOULD CHOOSE THEM OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
JAMES FRANK AND CARTER, I LOVE YOU BOTH MORE THAN MY WORDS COULD EVER EXPLAIN. MY LIFE WOULD BE BLAND AND UNIMPORTANT WITHOUT YOU BOTH. I'M SO SORRY FOR EVER MAKING YOU FEEL ANY DIFFERENT. IN THIS STAGE IN OUR LIVES, OTHER GIRLS ARE COMING TO STAY BUT I HOPE THAT I WILL ALWAYS HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN YOUR LIFE. EVEN IF YOU WANTED ME TO, I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE ANYTIME SOON. NO ONE CAN EVER REPLACE EITHER OF YOU IN MY LIFE.
DIBS ON THE ANTIQUE RADIO.
This afternoon I am overwhelmed with gratefulness that the God is who comforting me right now, is comforting my family in Oklahoma. The world lost one of its sweetest souls last night, but Grandma Grigg is being rewarded in heaven more than I could ever hope to be. The Father is welcoming home a good and faithful servant.
I am also overwhelmed gratefulness for the family of God, the Church. I went to bed last night not planning on going to church this morning, but after hearing the news of my grandmother, I knew I needed to. I knew she wanted me to. The congregation of Venue 2 Church here in Swansea have been more that I could have ever asked. They wrapped me up this morning and prayed comfort over me, and poured out hearts of genuine sympathy. I felt Christ's love through them this morning.
I am also grateful for flat mates who might not agree with or understand why I believe what I do, but they get that it hurts. My only hope and mission is that I can be a light for Christ through pain and loss.
When my Granddaddy died in 2011, my father told my brothers and me that death is a Christian's greatest opportunity to live out the gospel. Christ defeated death, and it is when we know him and our earthly lives end that we get to spend eternity in Glory with the Father! I find it no coincidence that this morning we sang "So death where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated." Death has no sting. And I believe for my grandmother that death was a relief. She wasn't able to communicate but I can imagine she was in a lot of pain, physical and emotional. But right now she is the presence of her Savior, running towards Him, singing His praises in her beautiful voice.
So yes, it hurts that she is gone. It hurts that I'm not with my family. It hurts that my daddy isn't here to wrap my in his constricting hugs that I miss so much.
But the hurt is so little compared to the joy I have knowing that Grandma Grigg is with Jesus.
Well here it is folks. Mid-August, Wal-Mart never seems to calm down, the shelves always seem to be empty of whatever you need, campuses everywhere are full of young freshman looking for classes and trying to figure out just where do I get a parking permit again? And here I am in the midst of it all with just enough experience to be comfortable in my quaint college town that I've grown to love.
As my roommate and I attended our hall meeting this afternoon after all the freshman had moved in, I realized just how much I am where I am supposed to be; how things seem to just line up to my surprise, how I have this peace about what I'm doing and where I am and I can only thank God that I am experiencing His divine orchestration. When I began school last year I admit that college was not what I was expecting. I had watched too many movies to accept that fact that I was going to a small division II school in a town smaller than the one I grew up in. I had fantasized too many times about times about stepping on to campus and being overcome with emotion and instantly becoming best friends with the first 5 girls I saw. I read too many college recruitment pamphlets to fathom that I wasn't at a school of 45.000 and that I would probably come to at least know or recognize most of the people I saw daily. East Central University wasn't at all what I was expecting. Looking back now, I knew that it wasn't but there was still a hint of something that wished it would fill every college fantasy I had ever had.
But I had to face a hard reality - I was here, not at the fictional university my young mind had dreamed up. I also had to tell myself that THAT WAS OKAY. The fact that I was at a small state school and not some big division I didn't make me a failure, it just made me me. I am so in love with where I am in life and coming into my sophomore year, I am so happy that I can say that and believe it! Growing up around military families that move frequently, you observe that people spend their lives complaining that this place isn't as good as the last and the next place will be even better. I won't accept that. I won't accept that its abnormal to be happy just where I am. I have a wonderful opportunity for a quality education, I have supportive parents who support me in so many ways, I have a Godly boyfriend who encourages and pushes me to grow in Christ, I have fantastic friends that always bring me joy, and a church home with people that care about me and serve me while I serve them.
I didn't end up at my fantasy school in my Hollywood movie of a life but I am so thankful I didn't. As my life stands right now, I am happy. No regrets of the past and no anxiety for the future (2 Corinthains 5:17; Matthew 6:25-26). As I sit with my roommate in silence and sweat in this AC-less dorm, I can say with genuine honesty that there is absolutely nothing in my life that isn't as it should be. For in this moment, I am happy.
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come."
Matthew 6:25-26 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body what you will put on.Is not life more that food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"