Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Letter to my Brother

Dear Monty,

We received a call from Anne today. She said that you were going on a spiritual journey. I’m not exactly certain what is meant by spiritual journey, but I am assuming it is a retreat. And that can be a wonderful thing as long as you are not hanging out in the woods and wearing a loincloth and beating drums with a bunch of other middle aged guys. My idea of a retreat would be for you to get away and try not to let the cares of life burden you for two or three days. Also you get to think about life, your relationships and your faith in God. Anne wanted us to send to you our support. Well, I think you already know that we do support you and your family. So in lieu of reminding you of that, I’ll pass on a few tips, some facts of life that I have picked up.

Hold tight to the covenants that you have made. Covenants are unbreakable bonds, vows and promises that have been made between you and others and made before your family. Examples in our culture would be marriage, baptism. The world just doesn’t take covenant seriously any longer. Everyone is looking out for themselves and promises mean very little. Show this to your kids. Lead by example.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. When someone hurts you it is normal to have feelings of fear, hate, anxiety and anger. This is normal. We are all created with these inherent feelings. If you feel the same way two or twenty years later then perhaps it is time for healing and renewal.

Know your own thoughts and feelings. Manage your own thoughts and feelings. By doing this you don’t have to react to others when you are posed with irrational emotions.

Be in agreement. Your girls are growing up fast. They will try and test you and Anne. The thing is that all people, children included, learn and react very differently. Some are thinkers. They have to give serious though to actions and weigh the consequences. Some are feelers. They relate to situations on an emotional level. Instead of weighing consequences, they weigh outcomes based on their feelings. Some folks are doers. They’ll jump in headfirst whether there is water in the pool or not because they want to just try it out. They read the directions later. You can probably gauge what kind of a person you are from these three examples. You can also gauge what template your wife fits into. Some differing learning and reacting styles seem to rub the wrong way with others. Be in agreement with your wife.

I am told the importance of long term goals. However in 1995 when Linny became to ill to work it became impossible to think about long term goals. In fact, I sort of drove myself crazy with worry. What’s going to happen next. What will this test result show. How am I going to pay for her medicine, much less all these bills. In March she will have been sick for ten years. What I learned, what we both learned is to take one day at a time. Someday you have to take one hour at a time. I’ve never really made any long term goals until January of 2004. I had only one goal and that was to get out of debt. It didn’t work out exactly as I had planned, but I am out of debt.

Monty, you and I were not raised in a touchy, feelie family. In fact I do not think most of my friends were raised much differently from us. Love and appreciation were expressed mainly in actions. Mom and Dad never did say, “I love you.” That was OK, because some of the kids from families that did go around saying “I love you” were totally dysfunctional and actually hated each other.

When Dad was sick and in the hospital recovering from heart surgery, I found him crying. He said that he was so impressed that we kissed Mom. His family had never done anything like that. He missed kissing his mother. Words welled up inside of him and he eventually spit out “I love you”. He went on to tell me pretty much what I have summed up in the above paragraph. So listen up, because I’m only saying this once. I love you and I love your family. You have done well for yourself. You have much to be proud of.

I hope this spiritual journey has a profound effect on you.



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