Sunday, February 03, 2008

Write-Away Writing Contest at Scribbit

When you think of February 14, and Valentine's Day, and love, your siblings aren't usually the first to come to mind. But my brother was the first to come to my mind when I read about the writing contest at Michelle Mitchell's blog: Scribbit: Motherhood in Alaska. I wrote this a while back for Donnie, who is 8 years older than I am. Even though he's 53, I cannot call him "Don." He will always be my childhood brother "Donnie" to me. And I am so glad that he has become tender toward the Lord because it has allowed him to express his love for me more freely, more often and more heartfelt than ever in our younger lives. What a wonderful God we serve. What a wonderful brother I have. And yes, that is the coffee table about which the post is written, and that is indeed a cherry pink divan with silver sparkly nylon woven throughout it, and the year is about 1966.

Dear Donnie: Sorry About the Coffee Table

Somewhere in the world, there is a wooden coffee table with three provocative words scribbled in pencil on the underside. I know because I wrote them when I was about six.

I scooted on my back under that table with a big fat pencil and wrote, “I hate Donnie.” Guess who that is. He’s my brother, who absolutely drove me crazy most of my life. He had a way of just looking across the room at me that would set me off—only you who have big brothers know what "the look" is and how it irritates every nerve in your entire being.

Siblings know almost everything about each other, which makes the other easy prey. After all, you eat together, share the TV and sit next to each other on long road trips, so there’s always opportunity, motive and means for driving each other nuts. Interestingly, even though most siblings don’t like to admit publicly that they’re related, genetically speaking, they have more in common with their siblings than they do their own parents!

There is someone who knows us even better than our siblings do, though. He knows all the mistakes we’ve made, our most embarrassing moments, and even our secret thoughts. That would be God, of course. You can’t hide who you really are from God, even if you scoot under a coffee table or pretend to be somebody else to fit in, or put someone down to make yourself feel better.In fact, in 1 Samuel 2:3b, the Bible says, “The Lord is a God who knows your deeds,” and Psalm 44::21b says, “He knows the secrets of every heart.”

Since we’ve all messed up, that’s scary because it sounds like we’re in big trouble.

But there is good news.

Someone once said, “The one who knows you best loves you most.” It seems unbelievable, but the same message occurs over and over in the Bible—that in spite of your flaws, God loves you deeply. Jesus had a way of looking right past a person’s words, of looking into their lives and then looking even deeper into their hearts, where he could see all kinds of truths, but he never, ever said, “You are just too bad for me. I can’t stand being around you.” He basically said, “You need me, and I love you, so we’re a good match.”

Jesus’ mission on the cross can bring you and God together, the way it was meant to be. I can tell you from personal experience that it feels great to know that God doesn’t hold those embarrassing, wrong things I’ve done against me.

Back to the sibling thing--there’s hope for you who feel like you’ll never get along with your siblings. Donnie and I are proof of that.

In fact, when I see him, my heart beats a little faster with joy. He is the funniest person in the world (which is big, coming from me), and he has a very tender heart. He never gives up on people. He always hugs me now and usually tells me he loves me when we part. I cannot get over the change that softened his heart toward me.

But that's what God does. He softens us in some ways and strengthens us in others. He makes crooked things straight and reconciles relationships. He teaches us to never give up on others. He teaches us to love.

I guess this is a good time to apologize to Donnie for the coffee table "incident," (although he probably thinks it's hilarious.) After all, he is my brother, and I love him. There—I said it for the world to see, “I love Donnie.”

Donnie and I 2006

Larry is 16 years older than I; Jack is 12 years older; and Donnie is 8 years older.
No sisters.


Scribbit said...

That quite a spread (in terms of years) in your family--must have made for some unique experiences.

I like how you've ended this.

PJ said...

What a wonderful post!! And I see how you came by your marvelous sense of humor. With three older brothers, it was either laugh or cry!! You chose laughter!!!! (And the occasional, "I hate you" message!!)


PJ said...

What a wonderful post!! And I see how you came by your marvelous sense of humor. With three older brothers, it was either laugh or cry!! You chose laughter!!!! (And the occasional, "I hate you" message!!)


Fresh Girl said...

Great post, Linda! So much of it sounded familiar -- I don't have an older brother, but a younger one, and I know all about pushing each others buttons. ;) And I know about the joy that comes from seeing him. Wouldn't trade my brother for anything, and I'm sure you feel the same! ;)

Laura said...

This is really tender, Linda. What a lovely piece. Hope you win!

marina said...

I really love these post b/c we all can realate to these one way or a nother, I was in the middle and I hated my older sister b/c she always pick on me no matter what,and my younger sister was very attach to my mom so everytime I tried to play with my older sister it was "get out of hear or get out of my room" so I would of written the samething like you did. Linda, you didn't miss out on having hand a sister they can be mean or nice it never works out until one grows up.and yes, God can heal all realtionships.marina
These was a very good story!!

Roxanne said...

Great story. . .and bless your heart. . .THAT many older brothers.

Lynn said...

Oh Linda,

Wonderful story and what a neat tribute to your brothers. Now, does this mean you are the baby girl??? You are so lucky.

Love you my friend, Lynn

A Stone Gatherer said...

What a wonderful tribute, and post! Even though my brother and I aren't that close (he's 11 years older), I still think he's the coolest!

Debbie said...

Very nice post. I don't think you were directing the "never give up on others" at me, but "Someone" was!

happybunny said...

I loved reading this post - in some ways it made me think of my little boy who will be one in two weeks. He has three older sisters - twins of 11 and one of 16. I wonder what he'll have to say when he's older.
Had to laugh though when I looked at your photo we had exactly the same coffee table when I was growing up - took me right back .......

Susan said...

When I was pregnant with DS 4, people kept asking if I wanted this to "be my girl". I was always certain that God had it in His plan to give us boys...but I kept wondering HOW you could have a girl after three boys. Apparently, your Mom knows how to do that!

Seriously, I had a friend who was the youngest of 6...she was the only girl.

What a precious story, Linda!

:-) Susan

Ann said...

Linda, I'm very sorry to burst your bubble, but MY brother is the funniest guy on earth. He really is. He's a youth pastor and absolutely hilarious, definitely the entertainment of our family. His birthday is Friday! My baby brother will be 33.

Oh how we used to fight as kids, punching, pulling hair, until one of us started to really really cry. Then the other would respond with, "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!"

One particular fight ended up out in the front yard. We were really pounding on each other, and the neighbor kids were kind of circling us, watching. I felt someone grab my hair and saw that my brother's hair had been grabbed too, and we were being pulled into a standing position. I though it was a neighbor kid joining in, and I was going to lash out. But I did a double take. It was Mom. The neighbor lady called to tell mom we were fighting out front. She was angry and embarrassed and literally pulled us back into the house by our hair! It totally makes me crack up when I think back on it! We were way too old to be acting like that, probably
5th and 7th grades.

My brother and I don't fight like that anymore. We've had an argument or two, but we get along pretty well. :) I love it when our families get together.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Oh, Linda! This is beautiful. I am sorry I missed it the first time! Beautiful reflection on how all of creation (even sibling relationships) reflect the glory of our God.

Jenna Consolo said...

Great post! I have 5 brothers, and I know just the irritation of which you speak. Fortunately these things seem to work themselves out over time...or as we realize how irritating we were too! God has a part in all of it.

SabineM said...

I was the judge for this month's contest at Scribbit and I have to tell you this was a hard call. I LOVED your story because I SO CAN RELATE!
There were 47 entries but yours and the one that won I kept thinking about over and over!
Great post. I didn't know whom had written it, I only had a number next to the posts! I am happy to see the lovely photos that go along with it!
My brother and I are 3 1/2 years apart (I am the oldest)

MommySecrets said...

What a thoughtful post. It brought back a lot of memories - especially with one of my three siblings. I still remember the scarring words of my younger sister saying she hated me. It took a long time to forgive and let go. And a lot of heart work that helped her grow to love others. But now at 34 and 32 we are best friends. Sibling friends are such a blessing and I am sooooo grateful for my 3 sibling friends!