Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love."
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
I didn't grow up with brothers. One of my brothers died as a toddler and I hope intercedes for me before Our Heavenly Father. The other is quite a bit younger than me and has always lived in another town. I consider it a flaw in my character that I did not develop closer relationship with him. I have often envied the camaraderie of men who grew up together--brothers that I have seen in my extended family, books, and movies. Adult brothers often seem to interact within a constant running in joke, a funny, brave, and moving story about their lives together. Of course, sometimes that story is not funny and many brothers have tragic and conflicted relationships. Either way, the facets and flaws of masculinity seem to be amplified when brothers are together--stimulated by a lifetime of continuous reinforcement.

I was moved to reflect on this relationship when I saw this beautiful photograph of a groom with his two older brothers. The one on the right is friend of mine. Something about the groom's posture reminds of how I felt just before my own wedding. When I saw this photo, my first thought was about my own three sons. God willing, they will someday be gathered like this. They will posture, tease, horse around, recite old jokes and stories, allude to secrets kept between themselves. They will support each other, take council with each other and love each other. God willing they will be comrades in arms, teammates, shipmates, soul-mates. God willing, God willing, God willing. This is my prayer for them, that they will always be brothers.

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