My younger sister is doing the letters of the alphabet in thanks corresponding with the day of the month, all month in November. It’s a really neat idea; I’m guessing mostly women participate, because women have an ability to express themselves in ways that men just don’t. Well, usually anyway… lol.
Today is November 10th, and the tenth letter of the alphabet is J.
And although I’m likely going to upset him by putting him on the spot like this, I’ll take that chance at the risk of doing what feels absolutely right at this moment. I’m going to once again dip into my sister’s neat idea and represent; this time with Jeff.
Jeff is my brother, and my best friend. Given the mess I’ve been in my life and the emotional wear and tear I’ve likely put him through I’m amazed we’ve made it this far, and I am incredibly grateful to have him as my brother and as my friend.
I don’t do a very good job at holding onto friendships. I’ve led a life that once brought my mother to say to me something about how it must be the gypsy blood in me… so I guess from that you might gather that I’ve never had any real constant in my life. My family is my only foundation, outside of my relatively new relationship with God, and I guess my kitties. And while I have no doubts about the love that exists between my parents and I as well as the love my sister and I share, the bond I share with Jeff is something very unique, and very special to me. Up close and personal he has watched me go through through some pretty stupid times in my life, and supported me nonetheless. He knows more about me than anyone else alive, maybe even more than I know about myself.
Just as is the case between God and me, Jeff and I have troubles communicating sometimes and it strains our relationship… until it strengthens it. And I’ll be man enough to admit, just as is usually the case with God, it is pretty much always me that ends up asking for forgiveness. Sometimes I have a tendency to be a pretty much… how do I put this… a loose cannon, I guess you’d say. I have been known on more than one occasion to shoot my mouth off in ways or places I don’t need to, or to not listen when I should, or do things I shouldn’t… I’m a work in progress, what can I say…?
I’ll never forget the first time I went home for Christmas after I had quit my substance abuse. Dad and I hammered out the details of the flight schedule and such and one of us sent out an email. Sometime shortly later, Jeff replied, giving thanks to all involved in making my return home happen and expressing his excitement.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so close to him as I did at that very moment, and it’s a memory that will never leave me. After all the damage I had done to my relationships with all my family, it felt overwhelming to receive such acceptance. That year, as has been the case every year since, Christmas was an amazing experience. But the feeling all started because Jeff let me know we were going to be okay.
And so I am learning, with lots of lonely moments, plenty of tears, and some Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream once in a while, that when Jeff and I have a disagreement it sucks in the heat of the moment, but I have learned to have faith that in time we will come around to each other, mend the fence and heal the bruises of our battle, and be better for it together as will I as an individual. We continue to do this time and time again, because we are brothers… and that’s what good brothers do.
I love you, Jeff. We don’t say it often enough… that’s another ‘gender’ issue, but you’d better get used to hearing it, because I need to be able to say it, and I hope we will both be better for it.