All I remember mostly, is he was really dark in the summer time, wore short shorts and cut off t-shirts.
Of course he did. It was the late 80’s.
My big brother.
Yeah, I know- you’re surprised.
If you know me, then you know I grew up an only child. Hearing the words mom and dad, brothers and sisters isn’t typical of my stories. Well, once upon a time -when I was five, I had all of those things.
And considering my stories lately have centered around family or lack there of, I probably seem like I have lots of “issues” but really- Nope! I’m totally fine with all of it. But those stories are a part of who I am, how I’ve learned, how I connect to others, and all of it makes the God story of saving grace even bigger in my world.
He writes each Christmas. I don’t even know how he finds my address when we’ve moved. He isn’t on Facebook and I’ve never had much luck with Google. And I’m a Google pro ; ) But a letter will come, without fail– each Christmas. And it will always simply say,
“Love Marcus and Karri.”
I’ve never met Karri. She use to send pictures of her and Mark (that’s what we always called him before he changed to ‘marcus’) from what I recall, they had a couple of dogs and I remember she had a big nose and beautiful long brown hair. But over the years, the pictures faded away and only the few words remained. Love, Marcus and Karri. Love?
Each year, I’ll write something similar inside of our card.
“Hey Mark, I wish..”
“Hey Mark, call…”
“Hey Mark, I hope one day…”
Because I want him to know. I’m here and I hope.
I want him to know– I’m here and I’m waiting and it will be a happy day when and if we see each other again. Just awkward hellos and hugs around the neck then lets just get this big brother, little sister relationship thing going.
Truth is- sometimes, you can love but love always returns void and empty. Sometimes you can love but love doesn’t always love back. What if my hands are old and worn before he ever returns love? What if he never does?
So I plant seeds. And seeds? They have the best hope of life.
I could send mean letters, I could send no letters. But I’m hoping there are little seeds being planted with each, “Hey, Mark”.
Seeds of love and forgiveness.
The story of seeds, oh the beauty. The way birds scatter seeds all over the world. Then little trees burst forth in beauty, each one gently touched by the magnificent One called God. The One who breathes life into creation. The One I always try to figure out, but will never be able to. He takes those seeds and gives them life. Awakens their dark soul and call them into the light.
So, perhaps it’s the best way to live? Casting out beautiful seeds of love, hoping they will be given life. Praying someone will one day water them, they will grow into beautiful, strong trees. Bursting forth with fruit and the fruit of that tree will maybe love me back? Or surely love someone, somewhere all because I chose to love.
But loving, requires giving away a part of us. Loving can hurt.
We have to understand, some will never love us back. Some won’t love us how we need. Some are so injured, they can’t hold love long enough to give love.
We have to remember, some seeds we plant, the love won’t return to us. That person may love others during only the last two weeks of their frail life after they’ve been told the end is near. Some will love soon and it will be a beautiful life for them. But there is no promise that because we loved them, their love will be seen or felt by us.
So- we love today. We resolve to live fully today. And hope today, that God will use our little seeds of love for his purpose. oh! His love, His way, is so perfect.
When we love the mean cashier at the local grocery store, with a simple smile- we may plant a seed of joy that brings forth life by the end of the day.
When the pained wife loves the hurtful husband, who is always telling her she could do her “jobs” better- when she loves him day after day, perhaps those seeds will one day take root as his soil softens and he will finally learn to love the loving wife back.
When we love the ones who have hurt us most, maybe all along those seeds are being hidden away and one day, when their pain is far away from us, their seeds of love will start to grow and they will love someone who has hurt them.
When the person I love most in the world doesn’t love me the way I think I need love. Maybe God knows how I really need loved and the love is really perfect after all.
When the friends we see on facebook, read about through screens on blogs, and envy through pages of books — talk about how they’re loved so perfectly. Let us remember- there is only One who loves perfect. So that person? That friend? That story? They have a tragic love story somewhere, to be sure. You are not alone.
I am not alone.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languagesand special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13
I have to remind myself- It is not IF I love they will love me back. It’s IF I love, it can change the world.
All my sweetly broken love friends,
Part 1. Why resolving to love is…
Because you don’t have to be perfect this Christmas…