Yesterday I went on a four mile walk with my big brother.
He’s the brother who was the strongest and toughest man I knew. And he knew it too.
He got married when I was about 5 or 6, so I don’t remember a lot about him as I grew up. But he was always a big presence in my life. And sometimes I was a little afraid of him. He knew a lot about so many things.
Yesterday we walked in the mild-for-January sunshine and talked about Parkinson’s disease (his thorn in the flesh) and depression (mine). We talked about how much he hates it that his voice is giving out on him and how he wonders if it’s worth trying to sing in choir this year. We talked about our latest reads, High and Low by Keith Foskett for him–and Changing My Mind for me. (My book is Margaret Trudeau’s memoir of her life with bipolar disorder. She’s our prime minister’s mother.) We talked about how our walk with God has been characterized by choosing sheer faith in His love and grace, not the emotional closeness marked by wonderful experiences with Him that some people have. We talked about anointing with oil and our uncle who took his own life in desperate depression. David read me a few verses from the Psalms that he had saved on his phone for me.
My brother’s body is not as tough as it once was, but his spirit is stronger and more beautiful than it has ever been.
As we parted with plans to walk again next week, he said, “Come here.” He gave me a hug and we said “I love you.”
Today it’s grey and cold. There are very cold temperatures and snow predicted for the weekend. In my quiet house, I battle depressed feelings, just keeping them at bay. But I pray that these ugly thorns will make us better people-softer, stronger, kinder, and more honest. It’s a good day because I can frame those words in my mind and mean them.
In Philip Yancey’s book, Prayer, he says this, “Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why God doesn’t act the way we want God to, and why I don’t act the way God wants me to. Prayer is the precise point where those themes converge.”
I pray hope and faith for each of you today. And would you pray it for David and me too?