I Love You, Brother
A Plea from the Pious
I Love You, Brother.
You’re a part of me, and I can’t let go. I want you to know that my heart will always beat for you. Your pain is my own, and I wish you find happiness and peace of mind – for my peace of mind too. Because my heart hurts that yours is broken. I watch you twist and turn and I feel knotted up inside. I see you blink back tears, and my own eyes sting. I smile when you smile, brother.
Because I do care and I love you. Do you care too?
I hear you, brother.
I hear when you say that you need to find your own way. Your own answers. Your own life. I hear you when you say that this life that brings me joy – the very things I enjoy: the fun with friends, the ever present family, the generosity of the community – I hear when you say that it doesn’t do it for you. But I love it here, can’t you see that? I hear that you don’t feel the love that I do.
I hear you, brother. Can’t you hear me too?
I believe you brother.
I believe you when you say that this world doesn’t work for you. I believe you when you say that you feel that you don’t belong. I believe when you say that you’ve found the answers elsewhere, as you smile patronizingly at me when I claim to have found them here.
But I believe you, brother. Why can’t you believe me too?
I understand you, brother.
I understand when you say that the rules I value, the God I believe in, the beliefs I find comfort in – I understand when you tell me that they don’t add up for you. That you want them to ‘make sense’. That you need them to make sense. Logically. Scientifically. I understand that you are confounded at how I can just accept, just as I am sometimes mystified at how easily you could reject.
But I understand you, brother. Can you understand me too?
I admire you, brother
I admire the strength you have, and the way you have made a life for yourself. A life that works for you. And if you have followed your conviction and they are what took you away, then I’d have to admire the power of your convictions too. Because I admire honesty and the search for the truth above all else. And while I believe that you could have found the answers to those nagging questions, right here within our Great Traditions, I still admire you, brother. I admire that you do your best to be an upstanding and honorable man. I admire your heart as I always have, because that hasn’t changed. Even though lately you look at my life and I see condescension.
And I wonder, dear brother, I wonder why. The family I built with love and devotion, the kids I’ve raised to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled – both intellectually and spiritually, the chesed I do – as much because it feels right, as because it is right – is it not commendable what I’ve done with my life so far? I understand that it isn’t what you want for yourself, what you are reaching for. But it is my goal and I’m going for it.
I admire you, brother, won’t you admire me too?
I forgive you brother
I forgive you for leaving this hole in my life. I forgive you for all the days and sleepless nights I cried because I knew I lost you – yet hoped I’d get you back. I forgive you for unsettling my perfect world.
I know that this world I’m in has hurt you. I know that there were times that we didn’t know how to handle you, that we might have mistreated you. I know that you see us all as the enemy, that you may even believe we drove you from here. That you see us all as the persecutors, the prosecutors, the executioners. I can understand how the grudges go far back and are embedded so deep. I don’t much like the way you see me, and I wish you’d see me as I see you.
But I’ve forgiven you, brother. Will you forgive me too?
I accept you, brother.
I accept the life you’ve chosen for yourself – and I still want you to be a part of mine as much as you can be. I accept that you no longer do what you used to. I accept that your dress code has changed and you look different too. I accept it all because I love you, even when I don’t love what you do.
But I have a life here. A life with a white picket fence. If I protect my family from the unfamiliar elements, it isn’t because I can’t accept it, but because I need to protect my traditions. There is a life here I value and an integral part of maintaining it is to shelter and guard the sanctity. Because my life is sacred as I believe your life to be too.
But I accept the choices you’ve made. Please show me that you can accept mine too.
I know that it’s your life, brother. But this is my life too.Printable Version