My brother has been the black sheep of my family for as long as I have been the baby, and probably before that too. This is a role he neither embraces nor denies. He is only himself, whatever the color of his wool. He has the kind of inner peace that people are born with or otherwise have to fight for. When I say fight, I mean spear throwing, leather wearing, cuts bleeding 300 type stuff. My insides feel battle worn, anyway, back to Josh.
I am always astounded by my brother’s quiescent inner strength. It’s not so much that he is static, this year he has actually changed a lot — new girlfriend, steady work in an actual career field, sticking around on Christmas – it’s just that he has never felt the need to shift his path for anyone else’s expectations. Even in his teenage years, with all the discretion and illegal substances, he never fell to deep into the despairing pit of self loathing that most teenage boys eventual inhabit (see ages 12-19). My brother, like my two older sisters were born beating their own proverbial drums, and loudly!
This kind of self-sustaining rhythm is foreign to me. My whole life has been a turbulent, loud, and dissonant jam session, where I have run around manically beating others drums, or at least trying to dance to their beats. I was not born with a drum. I have to claim it.
When I go to Hot Springs to visit my brother, and we are in a bar talking with new people, he invariably introduces himself as “Joshua Jackson.” Despite the fact that his friends call him everything from “Josh” to “Sexy beast” (it really is a consistently used nickname, I’m afraid) he always sees himself as the one, the only, the complete and at peace, Joshua Jackson.
I would give anything to be like my siblings, and not have to navigate this path of “who the hell have I been and who the hell do I want to be?” with no real map, because who can write a map for a journey that has never been taken? And who can take a personal journey that is not their own? Exactly.
Today I need an extra dose of peace. I had to say goodbye to a person that has shaped my life in ways even I have yet to discover. Even though my expectations of how this person was to be in my life were not to be realized, I am grateful. I know God has used our relationship to grow me, and him as well. But though I am actually happy to embrace the future whatever it holds, I treasure the past. Life really is bitter sweet isn’t it? But this is all part of it, as Mandy Moore aptly puts it in her song, Gardenia, “this is how everybody gets found.”