“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Yesterday Pilgrims, my wife and Old Doc made a trip to Nashville to take my brother to catch a plane so he could return home, Cedar Hills, Texas. He has spent the past two months visiting in our ‘little piece of heaven’ in Kentucky: www.ravens-nest.cc
I really needed for him to go home because my muscles in my gut need a rest. Even the good Book says laughter is good medicine, but, too much may be just on the precipice of harming one’s self. Non-stop laughter for two months is also about all the entertainment I can stand for this year!
Young folks can’t understand; but, old folks do understand how just about all in one’s life produces an opportunity to laugh or cry. I admit that once in a while a good cry does wonders for you, but laughter, usually at your dignity’s expense, is priceless, Laughter’s medicine can be a spoon full of joy whether one is riding a Stationary Bike on a journey that doesn’t have a destination, walking a steep hill that provides one’s body with an array of creaks, moans, grunts, sighs, heaves, and smiles as old bodies struggle to reach the summit one more day, and yes, even shouts of hallelujah for the damn hill has been conquered one more time.
Since my brain evidently works like Hillary’s: she said she had a ‘disconnect’ regarding her many lies about her e-mails, because my brain has so many infarctions I have earned the ‘old age’ moniker: Nat One: I have the attention span of a Nat. My younger brother: he turned seventy-three this month, was soon called Nat Two. A little later, my wife became known as Nat Three. She is the youngest by one year.
Cinema history has its Three Musketeers; Doc’s clan has the Three Nats.
Pilgrims, I learned the truth about this brother ‘adversity gig’ detailed in the book of Proverb’s early in life. My younger brother was afraid to venture out to our ‘Outhouse’ at night…so I often accompanied him…when I didn’t need to go. Wasps didn’t like to have a light shined on them during the night!
Pilgrims, Old Doc is writing this letter to send out a warning about the possibility a Pilgrim out there may allow one of the greatest adventures of his life to pass by because years ago there may have been hurt feelings or miss-conceptions about a brother’s relationship’s purpose to enhance one’s value within a familia setting; I know, I nearly was a causality.
Life happens and one can’t control where children are placed in a family’s life. I was the oldest boy; my brother was its youngest. As I graduated from High school, he enrolled as a freshman in the fall. When men are seventy-six and seventy-three, this time-span seems insignificant, but, when there is that span of time difference in children’s lives, it seems like an eternity.
As boys, he was ‘too little’ and often a nuisance to ‘hang with’ that I felt I was too often saddled with him to appease my parent’s wishes or assuage my sibling biblical conscience guilt. He wasn’t gifted with sports; I was. He had some major medical problems; I didn’t. I helped my parents by earning money to pay family debts; he was too young. These were my perceptions at I was headed for college on a Basketball Scholarship.
Until we both returned from serving in the Navy, we met one time in Subic Bay when our ships became part of the same West Pac flotilla, and he married, I was married, and we both had children and lived in the same city: Oklahoma City, did we have an opportunity to re-connect.
At the time, neither of us was committed to live a biblical life where church and worship was our first priority. We were moral men, but not Godly men. Golf was our relationship connecter, and we played weekly. In a short time, he realized he didn’t love his wife. His marriage went south and after a while he remarried. His wife had children and he also had two children, they never added to the family. He moved to California; I move d to Florida. It would be years before we were together again. Once in a ‘blue moon’ we would talk on the phone for a few minutes. My mother blamed his new wife for his divorce; I guess I thought that way too.
Our father’s death brought us together. We mourned differently. I was a minister preaching the word: I preached my father’s funeral message. I tried to witness to him; it didn’t go well. Later, he reconnected with his boyhood biblical roots and became a committed man for Jesus Christ; but, not then. It would be years later before I learned this wonderful truth about him and his wife.
Our mother never liked any of our family’s spouses, and especially those who were from a divorced situation. I realize now that she jaundiced me towards my brother and his second wife, and it colored my urgency to reconcile with my brother. I discovered, nearly too late, her prejudices were often unfounded and sometimes vindictive.
I want the world to know what a great guy my brother is! If for no other reason than he was willing to forgive me for being a ‘lousy’ one.
I want to thank Jesus for serving as our advocate…that is what is does best, Right? Six years ago we were invited and we accepted my brother and his wife’s invitation to visit. It’s not like we made a special trip because we were passing through Dallas on our way home from conducting business. It was a wonderful visit! They came for a visit the next spring.
Perhaps some Pilgrims have experienced a time when something unexpectedly happens, and when it does, your mind gets this tiny premonition of the future, and it makes you feel sad, this happened shortly after they arrived. His wife’s ankle failed her and she turned it, badly. She remarked she didn’t feel a thing. It was as if she didn’t have control over her muscles. My brother said she has been having a few unexpected falls…for no good reason. Despite her injury…that didn’t slow her down, we had a good visit and our fellowship was sweet and we grew much closer as couples…and as brothers. As they bide us goodbye, my brother promised he was going to have her to a doctor to get checked-out.
I told my wife I didn’t have a good feeling about her health, and I feared bad news was in the offing. I think many of us have had a ‘doctor’s experience where the diagnosis was given to us and the definition confused us and we looked for a ‘simple’ way to tell others what the doctor found. Often, it became a type of silly joke.
In a week we called to check on her, and my bother said she did see the doctor, but he wanted to do more tests. “You have not because you asked not, and when you ask, you ask with improper motives,” Jesus told us. We asked! We pleaded! We prayed!
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: ALS: Lou Gehrig’s disease is more than a mouthful…way more than a heart-full.
In the five years Linda, my brother’s wife, has been riding on a large harp and singing to the Lord, there have been a hundred times my wife and I have been watching a movie or a TV drama and its story is about a couple’s love experiencing death and dying, I would remark, “I hope Danny isn’t watching this show.” On his most recent visit, he told me when he sees those shows, he just sits and cries. He said it hurts, but it helps. Linda chose to go home to the Lord! She said she wasn’t going to be a ‘butterfly’: this describes an ALS patient that is alive but can only blink to communicate, and she refused a Tracheotomy, died a horrible death, and went home to be with the Lord for eternity. As my brother can testify, death only harms the living.
Pilgrims, it just sucks the wind right out of me when I stop to think what an incredible brothers’ journey of love I could have missed if I hadn’t taken the time to learn about my adult brother’s life. Perhaps, even more importantly, how void my wife’s life would have been without my brother’s love for her. He’s our Executor of our Wills and he has promised to take care of my wife if I should go home to the Lord before she does. I am his Executor of his will and he knows his home will always be ready for him when he needs it or desires to come home. My wife, Mrs. Nurse Goodbody, and old Doc can handle what life brings for my brother and me.
I have often contemplated just how many brothers in America are at this very hour existing in a state of ‘less than grace’ because one or both brothers have failed to seek love rather than indifference, forgiveness rather that possess the unrighteous ‘high-ground’ for words, deeds, and behaviors they have demonstrated to others, but draw the line for family.
The foul smell and taint from the gurgling, bubbling poison that continues to spread decay from the unforgiven sins, you and your brother continue to hold dear as if it were silver or gold that shuts out any tiny speck of spiritual light that might seep in and heal your soul. Tomorrow may be too late! You might get the bad news from the doctor. You might not even get to the doctor. Jesus is the Great Physician, he can heal you this very minute.
My fervent prayer for all brothers’ is that they may know the special bond and love I am blessed with!
500 new Pilgrims last month!