Living in the country has enabled me to participate first hand in the daily birth, life, death and rebirth of the natural world. It is something I am ever conscious of. It is something I am separate from but fully absorbed in as well. It is in me and about me. It is with me and without me. It is me. It is each of us.
As is my brother.
We are each other.
Life is given for reasons known and unknown. And taken in like manner. Life is lived in ways and places sometimes beyond our control, beyond even our understanding. Lives developed by circumstance, choice and experience. Lives developed in faith, by faith, and even in spite of faith. Lives planted on the earth with roots which reach deep to absorb its strength, but with a hand stretched expectantly towards the sun, towards the light. For warmth, for meaning, for union with the divine. Reaching within for the same. Every person given their moment, given their time and their place. But everyone connected. Every thing connected. Even when it doesn’t feel that way.
I was born connected to my brother, and remain so. Connection to him was not made. It just was. And then it was defined, by time and interaction, by thoughts, intentions, prayer. . . . . . . . . . and even by absence. Brain cancer has not been my brothers friend. But it has been his companion.
Growing up together, knowing my brother intimately for the first 18 years of his life enabled me to continue to know him across time and distance. We shared a room until he left to find his own family. A wife, two sons and a daughter. I knew the original Mike, the child, the developing brother, the adolescent, the young man. I did not have the pleasure of his company much after those years (as I would have liked) but I did maintain a strong sense of who he is. Before the full development of his faith, before his family, before his ministry. Everyone who knew him met him in a different time of his life, and grew to know him differently. I am heartened to understand that (even though life has shaped, defined and refined him) he remains (still) the person I knew in the very beginning. He always will be. I take that with me into my future.
Everyone will take how they knew him with them into theirs.
We have all been blessed.