My brother is in prison.
Just releasing those words out into the universe makes me cringe. I’ve went to hit the backspace button several times. Erasing my thoughts before I even begin. Peeking over my shoulder to make sure no one has seen what I’ve written.
It’s just not something we share in polite company. We barely bring it up amongst those who know where he is.
As a person who puts my thoughts out into the world and shares all aspects of my daily life through blog posts and social media- this is still really hard for me to talk about.
My sweet blogger friend Bethanie from The Garcia Diaries really inspired me to share my story, after I read her Open Letter to Anyone With a Parent in Jail. Reading how vulnerable she was and how open she is about her situation gave me the push I finally needed to talk about it.
For the longest time I was just so embarrassed. Ashamed that someone so closely related to me could be a criminal. When people ask me about my siblings, I usually just shrug and say we’re not very close. Or I only talk about the one brother who I do have a relationship with.
It took me a long time to tell even my closest of friends. And I still don’t go into detail.
But, I finally realized I don’t really have to. I don’t have to share the whys of the situation and name the cast of characters. It doesn’t matter. He’s there. That’s it. And his poor decision making in no way reflects on who I am as a person. I don’t have to feel ashamed. Or harbor guilt over what he’s done.
The only thing I’m guilty of is not talking about it enough. Not sharing our story, so that it may touch and help someone else in a similar situation.
I pray every day that my brother is safe. I ask God to please somehow work out this situation for HIS Good. That in some way, my brother will find HIM while he’s there. That there be a reason behind what has happened, and that in the end it will all be okay.
I don’t know how this situation will turn out. What kind of life awaits my brother when he gets out. So I pray- because sometimes that’s all we can do…
It took me a long time to love my brother again. Shame and bitterness and resentment are hard to replace with love. But, I keep thinking about Jesus. And how he tells us to love- especially those who are hard to love. The inconvenient ones. The ones who don’t want our love. Who will maybe never even love us in return.
I read a quote the other day that said something like, “Jesus spent his whole life with people that we spend our entire lives trying to avoid.” And it really sparked something inside of me.
Sometimes the ones that are so very hard to love- are the ones that are closest to us. Maybe a sibling, a spouse, or possibly even a child. Someone who has hurt us deeply and we thought we would never be able to forgive.
But, keep on loving them. Love them when it’s hard. When it’s inconvenient. When you don’t know what else to do.
Love them anyway.