Where Logic Meets Love

Lessons from a Brother

Thursday, May 26, 2011

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Lessons from a Brother | Faith Permeating Life

Thanks to those who have been thinking of me this past week.

Things went better than expected. I mean, there was more than one time where Mike's brother got pissed off and left the apartment, but Mike followed after him and got things worked out. I was able to keep myself out of it mostly, which forced Mike to take responsibility for seeing things through. And that was good for him. I mean, the whole week was good for him, not only because it forced him to stick to a schedule and stay active himself, but because he had someone with more energy than I have to go bike riding, play sports, and all sorts of other things.

Trying to help his brother quit smoking helped him to finally understand something I've been trying to tell him for years, which is how hard it is to just say "OK" when someone (usually him) tells you they're going to do something and you know it's highly unlikely they actually will. It wouldn't be supportive to say, "No, I don't believe you will," but it's even harder to lie, so instead you end up making yourself believe they really will do it this time, and then you get crushed every time. It doesn't make things any easier, but knowing that he understands now is comforting.

I've heard many times how damaging it is to use the phrase ”You always" in an argument, but recently I've learned that the opposite is also true -- the phrase "I know you're not always like this" can be very affirming. Mike has helped me feel better about my health problems by reminding me that he knew for five years before I got sick, and he knows this isn't my normal self, no matter how long it's lasted. So I don't have to worry that he's seeing me as lazy or dramatic, because he knows my true self.

Similarly, when Mike asked me how this week went for me, I told him that it was a little tough because he was reacting to everything I said as if his brother said it -- as if I were being sarcastic or attacking him -- but that I knew it was only because he was spending all day with his brother, and I trusted things would go back to normal soon enough.

Mostly this week has reminded me how glad I am that Mike has such a close friend in his brother, and how glad I am that Mike is such a caring person that he was willing to rearrange his priorities to take care of his brother. I was also the grateful beneficiary of several fantastic meals thanks to having two chefs in the kitchen. (I asked Mike if he wishes I would help him cook more, and he said no, he'd have to tell me how to do everything anyway. He was kind enough not to add that I also tend to screw things up.)

All said and done, I'd be happy to have his brother back for another week.

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