Today is my little brother’s birthday. I don’t know when is the proper time to quit calling him little. Is it when he outgrows you? Outsmarts you? On both counts, he’s bigger than me now. When we were little he made me laugh. So hard. I’m not sure why, but I thought he was the funniest thing.
He also made me cry.
Those teenage years are so hard and unfair. The deepest times of despair were met with many tears.
But he still makes me laugh.
And he still makes me cry. Like the time he constructed a wooden shelter for a nest of brand new baby birds in the middle of a torrential rain shower. And by constructed, I mean he made an actual fixture and attached it to his actual wooden fence, so that the birds would have a home. He couldn’t bare to see them suffer. His is the most tender heart. When he was little, he often discouraged the killing of ants and other pesky bugs, as they were God’s creatures too. I scoured his Facebook page to find the picture of the bird shelter. I found instead that his pictures have four themes: food, family, nature, and faith. He has loved food his whole life. It’s always been an experience rather than an activity of daily living. He has relationships with sandwiches and sauces. And the messier the better. He still licks his fingers. He has a family. He is a father and a husband. He is such a good father and such a good husband. He lets his kids do the most dangerous things. But the same eye that he keeps on the sparrow in his back yard, he keeps on his kids. He loves the outdoors and always has. A landscape can capture his heart in an instant.
The best picture I found that encapsulates my brother is the following one, which encompasses all of the aforementioned elements:
I wasn’t there, but I can tell you what is happening. First of all, they have just eaten. You can’t see the food, but there is no doubt it was there. Do you see how engaged in conversation he is with my Grandma? Jeremy doesn’t small talk. Chitchatting has no purpose and he is annoyed through 100% of conversations without depth. Do you see one foot casually resting on his dog, Ringo? His dog is old. He’s not a brilliant creature, but he loves Jeremy very very much. And Jeremy loves his dog.
Do you see how he is reclined?
This is his element. There was a time when he couldn’t recline. He could never relax. An unsurrendered life is like that.
Jeremy’s life now is about creating spaces for community to develop. Participating in conversation, welcoming others into their home, eating (because that’s always going to be true), and walking with anyone who seeks to know the Savior that changed his life.
Jeremy, thank you for taking the time to walk with those around you. For loving others and providing space for substantive conversations, generous hospitality, and delicious food. My life is forever changed because you are in it; and it is forever better because you have chosen a life of faith. Thank you for that.
And thank you for roasting coffee. I literally could’t get through the day without you.