Brother: It’s good to hear your voice. It’s been a minute.
Sister: It’s been more than a minute. It’s been four years.
Brother: Really?! Well, you know how it is?!
Sister: No, I don’t know how it is.
Sigh! Sigh! Two or three more meaningless exchanges — and click! Sister wanted to scream!
This was not a happy conversation.
1,460 days; 35,040 hours; 2,102,400 minutes ago, sister told brother she had a brain tumor. A brain tumor.
For split seconds, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, terror was sister’s constant companion and relentless tormentor.
Every. day. for months, terror kicked her hard in the gut and kept on doing it. All. Day. Every. Day. Sometimes, still…
At the most unexpected moments, terror would sucker punched sister hard, knocking her to the floor and leaving her there for an eternity — bone chilling cold and simultaneously moist with sweat, quivering, curled up like a helpless fetus still in her mother’s womb.
Brother left. Brother had disappeared. Brother had abandoned sister during a time in her life when she was broken, impoverished!
Sister and brother used to talk for hours on the phone. Satisfying hours. And do lunch.
Brother lived just one town over. One town over and 30 minutes away. 30 minutes.
Much later, sister heard that brother had found a new lover or two. Sister supposes that brother pursued these women ardently or semi-ardently with phone calls and dates and attention until they succumbed to his dubitable charms.
He even traveled on at least one occasion… all the way to Canada. Canada. Brother even found time to reproduce — a baby girl.
Life is turbulent in the best of times. And other times, the waters are deeper than deep and the giant tidal waves of adversity can crush and swallow.
And still brother did not call…
I tell you this story to say this: Life is turbulent in the best of times. And other times, the waters are deeper than deep and the giant tidal waves of adversity can crush and swallow.
It is only by love showing up on bad days, ordinary or extraordinary, that we have any hope of making it through to some semblance of smoother sailing.
That brother may say he cares. But did he? Does he? I think not. Because if he had, he would have showed up not just for his sister’s sake but for his own.
He would have wanted not only to be a “life jacket” for her during this raging storm, but also he would had a desperate need to know for his own sake the “why,” the “what,” and the “where” of someone he really valued.
So, I will say this to you: If you care — really care — show up! Do. Not. let someone you profess to love or care about flounder and drown alone.
Call to action: Can you feel me on this? If so, share your experiences with showing up or not in the comments below.