Don’t get me wrong, I am an extremely thankful person. I daily thank God for the simple yet beautiful life He has allowed me to live. I daily thank God for the beautiful and loving wife He has allowed me to share this life with. I daily thank God for the friends I have met and the relationships I have developed with many of YOU.
As deeply thankful as I am, there remains a couple of things which for one reason or another I have not been blessed with in this life. At times they simply are things I miss and at other times they truly do bring a genuine ache to my spiritual heart. Those two things are children and a brother who is a brother indeed.
In a couple of weeks a day is celebrated which is a bit tough for me, Father’s Day. Ever since my dad died in 1998, the only thing special about the day is the final round of the US Open Golf tournament. The problem with a day like Father’s Day, just like with Mother’s Day, comes when a person has no children and their parents have died. Instead of a day of joy and love, the day can become a bit trying.
When it was established some 15 years ago that we could not have children, everyone told us to either become foster parents or adopt a special needs child. We talked at length about it and decided it would not be best due to our living arrangements at the time. Somewhat out of desperation and somewhat out of God’s Providence we ended up with our family of dogs which became our children.
Amazingly, for the many years we had between 4 and 6 dogs the pain of not having any human children was bearable. I cringe when I think of what life would have been like with no dogs to shower our love and affection upon. Many people thought we were crazy or irresponsible for having so many dogs. All we could ask them to do was to walk a mile in our shoes.
It is so easy to judge and force one’s personal views on a subject upon everyone else. If someone doesn’t grow up in a home with pets, they frown upon those who do. If a person grows up in the lap of luxury, they have a difficult time relating to those who are raised in poverty. A person who grows up an only child or the same as, has a hard time understanding what it is like to have brothers and sisters around all the time.
My sister was born in 1940, my brother was born in 1945 and I was born in 1953. When my sister left to go to college, I was 5 years old. Obviously I have no memories of ever having a sister as a child. My brother left to get married when I was 11 years old. I do have some fond memories of my brother, but they are sketchy and non important due to the age difference between us. When he started High School I was in second grade.
Despite having a brother, I have no brother due to the eight years difference in age between us. We have literally gone 5 or more years at a time without communicating. I am thankful for a brief period where we grew tight directly before and after my mom died three years ago. But, other than that time, the relationship with my earthly brother has been strained to say the least.
Over my many years of life I have had a few very close friends and many “friends”. I have no clue what became of the many “friends” for they vanished years ago. For the most part I don’t know what became of my close friends either. In the course of developing relationships, I did have a couple of friends who I deemed “closer than a brother”. I did have, like David had for a season, a Jonathan.
I met my Jonathan in 1983 and from 1984-1987 I was blessed with a male friend who was indeed the closest thing to a brother I have ever experienced in this life. Unfortunately the relationship ended due to some marital issues he had. But, I will always cherish those few years for the incredible blessing it was to know what it means to have a brother.
I am fully aware that sisters have an entirely different relationship than brothers do. What sisters do when together in person or on the phone or on line is completely different than what brothers would do. I am deeply thankful for the incredible sister relationships this site has produced among some of you. I am also, I must confess, a wee bit envious that the same thing has not happened among the brothers here. I understand why it is so much more difficult and it has to do with the men are, but it is unfortunate none the less.
So, despite not having children and no true brothers, I feel I have done quite well in understanding the emotions, feelings and bond that those relationships provide. I honestly am thankful for all of you who do enjoy the honor of having kids and for those of you men especially who have brothers your own age that you are close to. But, I think I am most thankful for those of you who, like me, have forged friendships and relationships with a few brother/sister/friends which succeed in filling the void caused by not having children/siblings.
Thank you for allowing me to share this. I means a lot to be able to empty one’s heart on such a personal matter as this. You truly are my family in many respects and as such, I love you.