My girls, 14 and 12, lying on the couch together watching a show, giggling and squirming, teasing and whispering brought an unexpected rush of emotion and I began to weep. These two love each other and they are sisters and friends. Sure they aggravate the snot out of each other from time to time, but there is a gracious ease in which they forgive and accept the differences and demands of one another. The tears fell from my eyes as I thought about my own brother; who we have lived in the same town all of our lives and our oldest children are the same age and we have every reason to be close and be ‘friends’ and yet we are not, though we love each other deeply.
As I sat in the chair, just behind the girls snuggled on the couch, the tears flowed as I wondered why some siblings are rivals and others are friends? What did we do wrong? Is it just DNA and chemistry and ‘wiring’ or was it an environment or an event? The stories of my Papaw and his brothers, “the Jones boys”, compound the sense that brothers should be something more; and so I have always felt a longing that something is missing. The awareness that I had to have been an infuriating little brother, a limelight stealer and a competitor nipping at his heals, only furthering a gap, if one existed. The confusion of knowing that my brother and I do love each other yet proximity doesn’t equate to intimacy.
The girls still giggling, wiggling, whispering and in the hush the peace of knowing that brothers and sisters are both made and chosen, it is always both and what we don’t have by fiat of chemistry and circumstance we must choose. What we long for is within our reach and within ourselves. The Lord walks among us calling us ‘brothers and friends’; the intimacy we have is the intimacy we give. And it might be that the chemistry is made in the giving.