“So this is what bonds us.” A Memoir about growing up.

I had noticed another change in my brother. It had been four years since he willingly hung around me let alone spoke to me. I guess you could say this was one of those nights that you always look back on. We were sitting around our flickering fire pit that was up on top of the hill in the far corner of our oddly shaped backyard. It was one of those fall traditions for our family but it had died out like all the others since my brother decided he wasn’t part of our family anymore. We talked about every heartache and struggle that had happened all those past years. Everything we had learned about this life and what we chose to do. Then suddenly the mood changed and my brother’s eyes filled with tears. I could see the regret of the past. Finally realizing he had missed out on being there for me. I watched this person who I vaguely knew anymore fall apart in front of my eyes as he felt the guilt. Our relationship was gone and now there was nothing left to bond. I didn’t ask why he left because I knew the answer. He got caught up with his freedom and forgot about the life he left behind. All he could ask from me was that he could have a hug. I was in shock really but in that moment I released that my brother never stopped loving me and I learned to forgive and keep forgiving him because that’s just who he is.

As a child I expected to grow up and everything would be great. I would reach my dreams and have more freedom or something. Soon my time of peace would be over as that season passed another blew in like a harsh winter. Life was scary and it turned out to be much harder than I could have ever imagined. I’m not really sure when it happened. It’s like one day you wake up and realize something wrong or at least different. It’s because innocence is like being blind; you don’t see the world for what it really is. For me this may be slightly more extreme than it is for most people. I grew up in a Christian home which means I had no idea how sheltered I was. My mom didn’t even put my brother and me in kindergarten till we were 6 years old because she didn’t think we were ready yet. From kindergarten to 6th grade I was in 4 different private schools. Those years were greatest years of my life. I would run around my neighborhood going from house to house, Playing games with my friends. That seemed like a whole other world. It’s like one of those dreams that you remember so well it’s almost creepy. I know God gave me a blessed childhood; and now it’s something I can hold close to my heart.
Luke, My brother who is three years older than me and my only sibling is the person I will always look up to the most. Which if you knew my brother you’d probably say that may be a bad thing. When we were little I followed his every move. I collected all these beanie babies stuffed animals because that’s what he liked to do. If he changed, I would try to also.

When we got older my brother went through a video game faze. He would never let me play but I would sit there and watch him play for hours; I was perfectly happy doing so and I never complained as long as I got to be around him. Although we grew up together we were completely different people. Luke was an extrovert from the beginning. All he wanted to do was have fun all the time; with a bunch of people and never be sitting still. I’m the opposite. I am happiest with having one person to connect with and always look forward to staying at home so I can do nothing. This separation between us will probably stand true for all of eternity. Things were not the same for Luke and once he was in high school everything changed. He wanted to break free and experience the world and I could care less. He changed and became a different person. I didn’t know what was going on; neither could I have ever understood. I tried to be his friend but according to him, I was too young and too different. I was missing him but that was never going to change. Meanwhile my high school experience was a mixture of feeling stressed, depressed and lonely all the time. Then I became physically sick. I needed someone to understand me and be by my side but I found no one. That's when I had reached the end of myself and had practically given up.

I know how the world changes people and I know because I saw it in the person I cared about the most. It wasn’t my brother’s fault because it happens to everyone. It wasn’t growing up though, that would mean maturity and that never happen for him. No, this was loss of innocence and entering into a world that means trying to be “happy” results in only more pain and heartache. We begin to live for the acceptance of other people and so we go to great lengths to make ourselves look impressive. We are told that in order to be happy you must be successful, have lot money, be in a great relationship, etc. The world tells you these things will fill the gap in your heart and you will have a purpose. We are in a constant search to fill these needs/wants. What happens when everything you ever worked towards amounts to nothing in the end? When everything starts to fall apart and the disappointments leave you feeling hopeless. Our lives are so short, were like grass that grows up and quickly gets cut down. Knowing that my life was out of my control and at any moment I could be gone was scary. I struggled with depression, loneliness, fear of the unknown but God changed my life. Some people would ask but if God were real why would he let all these bad things happen to you, you’re not a bad person. I would ask them to define bad and where they get their explanation from. Who can define what is really right or wrong if there’s no person who is perfect enough to say so. Were all imperfect and we all make mistakes. When we decide for ourselves which is the right thing to do we will make mistakes and therefore bad things happen. I’ve learned that’s why we need God, to show us the way to go, the way that’s the safest and will bring good things to our lives.

I choose to not carry my burdens anymore and in return find peace in knowing I am cared for. When sickness surrounds me and fear starts to creep in my mind, I know I have a hope. I can choose to have faith and I am given strength to make it through. My relationship with God shaped has given me everything because without him I would be nothing. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason because if it wasn’t for those bad things that happened I would be lost and still looking for a purpose. If God wasn’t real in my life and I’m sure that I wouldn’t be here. He makes me brave; he calls me out into the storms and changes me. He showed me who I am and gave me a reason to live. Now I can confidently move forward because I have peace beyond my own understanding. That night sitting around the fire with my brother, we both realized we had come to this same conclusion. All the years we thought we were so separated because we were so different on the outside. On the inside God was working in both of us. All along God knew who we both were and he had a plan. He knew everything then, he knows everything now and he knows everything that will happen tomorrow. You just have to have faith..he's going to pull you thought it.

Philippians 4:6–7
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.