Monday, January 19, 2015

Brotherly Love

We don't talk much about brotherly love.  Not really. 

We use brotherly love as a metaphor for the love we share with close friends.  But it is rare to read anything that actually speaks of love between brothers. Our literary canon is filled with brotherly strife, because that is a more compelling read. Cain and Abel.  The Jacksons.  The Bowdens.  There is even an anime series called BroCon based on the tension that sibling rivalries bring to the fore.

Why, then, is the love of a brother considered to be the apogee of love among friends?

My brother Parker and I are separated by 12 years.  That means that we both started school at the same time: me - college; him - first grade. We have always been close, and have rooted for each other during the tough times.

Parker with Pokey Dot. Photo by Katherine Lawton.
One of the odd things, though, is to watch him as he has grown into a man.  Parker now has three little girls (can't manage that Y chromosome, but, then again, neither have I), which he adores and cares for in an amazing manner.  He has a lovely home in Easley.  He is a leader in the church, and organizes weekly meetings between a group of troubled teens in town and their mentors.  He is an innovator and a inventor, an entrepreneur.... an idea guy with an eye towards profit.  He has the best natural comedic timing of anyone I have ever met (a serious source of envy for me) and combines both his incredible intelligence and his hard work ethic, with a kindness that I find rare in my day-to-day life.

I love this man. 

I look around me, and I see a huge number of acquaintences, colleagues, and friends.   I am fond of all of them, and love them to a differing degree.  Calling you my 'brother,' however, means something special.  It is reserved for people I love the way that I love Parker.

There aren't that many of you around.

A pair of Lawton brothers went into business in 18th C Cuba.
Photo by the author.

Parker turned 33 this week, and did it with minimal fanfare.  He got to hear his daughter Pokey Dot laugh for the first time.  He struggled to get the girls up, dressed, and to Sunday School on time, and then struggled to get them down for the afternoon nap.  He talked with friends, joked with family, and spent time with the people he loves.

Today found him back at work, making deliveries, always thinking of new and different ways to profit from doing the things he loves.  And when he does find that thing, I want to be his first investor. 

Peter once said to Jesus, "Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you."  When he said that, he used the Greek word - phileo - that means 'brotherly love'.

I wish for all of you to have as incredible a man in your life, that you would be able to claim that kind of love.  Both to give and to receive. That kind of love is a treasure beyond value.