Dear Wilberforce,

You wrote about your sister in your last letter, and I was quite touched by it. I am happy to be a part of such an important decision, and I am always supporting you while you search. In matters of the heart, it is essential to have a friend’s ear, and a friend who will truly listen and care.

Your letter about your sister reminded me of my brother, so I wanted to give a response. This is a hard letter for me to write because I want to be sensitive to him. He most likely will not read this blog, but if he does, I want him to be portrayed right.

Recently, my boyfriend and I brought up the topic of  what it would be like to raise a child with a disability, and this conversation, of course, made me think of my brother.  While my brother’s disability is now not very noticeable, it certainly affected his life and our family’s lives, and I truly cannot imagine my life without him. I stated very confidently to Leg (my boyfriend) that “It would be a privilege from God to raise a child with a disability.” And I mean it. I also know it would be hard.

My brother is a very good man. He is (fingers excitedly crossed) going to be married soon (I adore his girlfriend), finishing school for Information Technology, and applying for computer jobs because he is very proficient with computers. But life has not always been so good for Sean. I remember going through nights where the house was filled with yelling and screaming and crying and threats of killing himself. You see, most people know how to hide their emotions like putting water in a colored glass. My brother is like water inside a clear glass that has no obstruction from one being able to look inside. With this in mind, I would say that my brother’s main struggles in life were not necessarily due to his disability, but rather due to anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, and fear. My brother has a powerful testimony to how those things did not have to hold him down forever. But the road there was not easy.

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When I was 15, there was one night my brother left the house and took the car 1 1/2 hours to the city. He spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot before my parents found him. Everyone in the town was praying and worried. He was acting out his pain, and I thank God he did not decide to commit suicide that night. He would constantly say things like “Nobody loves me.” Or “God is angry at me.” Or “What if I never get married?” Or “I’m not good enough, smart enough, Etc.” Or “Something is wrong with my brain and it needs to be fixed.”

Those words should sound familiar to you, or to anyone for that matter because they are the words we all tell ourselves secretly. But for my brother, it was never a secret. And I’m glad. I’m not glad that life was hard for my brother for a long time. I’m not glad that he was hurting. I am glad that I know my brother, my only brother, who has shown me what it’s like to express pain and finally let love break through.

Your own experience was very different from mine, Wilber, but I think the commonality, if I may try to make one, is that siblings may not always be what we want or expect them to be. But they are put in our lives for a purpose.  Perhaps the reason my brother is in my life was because as a child, I did not express my emotions. I bottled them up. But my brother, who is unashamed to share what he feels, has shown me that I should not be ashamed of anxiety, depression, fear, anger, or pain. These emotions are part of what it means to be human, and it is possible to work through them, no shame.

Thank you for being my listening ear,