I've realised since moving away that I am a lot closer to my siblings than I would have originally admitted. When living at home, I barely spoke to my younger brother, and everytime we did communicate it was always an arguement, or a fight. Either way, not very productive. Even the few glimmering moments of peaceful contact would soon end with one of us slamming our bedroom doors.
I guess absence does makes the heart grow fonder. Or maybe I am able now to appreciate my brother for who he really is; a teenage boy, and not "my annoying little brother". He is the age of the young people I am working with, teenagers I have learnt to be tolerant and accepting of, with all their faults and flaws. I love them for the people they are in Christ (even if they haven't found him yet.) And my brother is no different to them, albeit, much more capable of winding me up... and more willing to do so.
But over the last few months, the time I have spent with my brother has been amazing. There has always been the deep sibling love/hate relationship that most teenagers experience with their brothers and sisters. But I can see more clearly now how much we both have grown through each other. I have realised that although our outlook on life is somewhat opposite ends of the spectrum, we can sit side by side on the sofa, watching the same TV programme, laughing and enjoying each others company. Even if it is only for a few minutes.
And my brother is actually amazing. He's been through some hard times in the past, with our parents divorcing, and then our brother leaving, and then me, and he has coped with all that without the support of a church network behind him. And maybe even sometimes without a big sister to help him too. I look back and I am scared of the amount of times that maybe he could have needed me, and I was too busy with my own problems to look after him. But then I also treasure memories of times when he was there for me, even at a young age.
I know Stephen will probably never read this. I just wanted to make a note that I am proud to call him my little brother. And I love him very much. =) xxx