The Story Hall
Published in

The Story Hall

Photo from Igor Miske

The Great Wave

He told us that he had a younger brother. They were the only children of their family that was why he and his brother used to be so close to each other. He said that his brother was his partner; he was his ride-or-die. By the way he told it, I could understand that his brother already passed away. So I asked him what his favorite memory of his brother was. He said that it was every time he came home. It was always his brother’s voice that used to fill the house. He described him like a fireplace. His brother used to warm their souls and uplifted their spirits. But like any fire, it died out.

His brother was seven years old when they found out that he had leukemia. He told us that their family hid it to his brother so he wouldn’t worry at all. And for two years they tried to fight it — the cancer. I asked him what it felt like to be in that situation. He shrugged and admitted that he didn’t know what to feel at that moment. He was fifteen. He just described it like he was staring at a painting — mentioned The Great Wave for instance. He didn’t know how to understand the painting, so as his feelings about it. But the description of the events was very clear. On its ninth birthday, his brother was predicted by the doctors to have only three weeks to live. He confessed that he made himself believe rather than hoped that his brother would live. That was why he ignored the possibility of the untimely death.

He said that he was doing fasting, for his pastoral celebration, when his phone rang with the message of his brother’s death. He was preaching about God at that time when God, himself, let him down. He said that it felt like He let him feel alone. God took his only partner, his ride-or-die. He told us that at that moment, he was suddenly enlightened. The painting moved: the waves leaped towards the sky, and back on the water to hit the boat. He said that it felt like he was drowning only that the water never touched him. It felt like it was never ending, he said, until someone took it. He was no longer staring at the painting. He was left with the blank white canvass of the wall.

He told us that he had a realization after that tragedy. He was wrong about God — He never let him down. It was never his to alter what was painted, same to his brother’s life, or to anyone’s. God took the painting, because behind it was a wall where a new art could be hanged, a different one. He said he felt clarity and hope for the first time.

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