His statement--that I will always have a brother--is true. I am clinging to that truth. But the fact remains that this birthday is different than Brock's other birthdays. It's unlikely that I would have seen Brock today, given the fact he lived in Albuquerque and I in Waco. But I would have called him today, chatted for a bit, told him I love him.
But you see, the last time I called him, just under a month ago, he didn't answer. I left him a voicemail, then went to bed, waking up in the dark a few hours later to receive the worst phone call I hope to ever receive.
I guess you can't know how you will react in situations like these until--God forbid--they happen to you. My reaction was, more than anything, wordlessness.
In the week that followed, I tried to write my brother's eulogy. I am the one who is gifted with words; I felt like it was the least I could do to help in a situation where help was both futile and very much needed. But I just couldn't. How could I--how could anyone--sum up a life? There are no words for that. Or if there are, I certainly didn't have them.
I did manage to write the following little paragraph, which my dad included at the end of the eulogy (that he wrote):
Brock's death is and will remain a shock and a mystery. We are tempted to
dwell on the "whys" and the "what ifs," but instead let us dwell on the man we
knew Brock to be: a fun-loving friend with an easy smile, a gentle husband, a
compassionate brother who was quick to give hugs, a faithful father who worked
hard to support his family, and a kind man who often said "I love you."
Today is and always will be my brother's birthday. But I can't call him. Since I can't call Brock today, I will think about him and the other birthdays. Instead of dwelling on "why?" I will continue to ponder the eternal question of life and death, namely, "Bad things happen. How then shall we live?"
How? With more love.
I know that sounds trite and overly simplistic; nevertheless, that is my conclusion. Our only right response in the face of tragedy is to love. But believe me, I don't think it's simple. Nor do I think it's easy--there's a reason I haven't written about this till now. Rather, it's the only way I am able to make sense of something so senseless.
Let's love when things are good and when things are bad. Let's make time in our busy lives to reach out to love. Let's encourage one another's hopes and dreams--crazy as they may seem. Let's love when it's hard and when it doesn't seem to be helping. Let's keep loving people who keep rejecting our love. Let's lean on each other and love enough not only to help our friends, but love enough to ask for help when we need it. Let's love when we are tired, when we don't feel like it, when we really don't care, when it hurts.
Most importantly, let's realize that we can never love enough, but let's keep trying anyways.
If we were perfectionists and waited until we loved perfectly the world would be a much worse place. As it is, terrible things happen because we lack love; but beautiful things--big and small--happen every day when imperfect humans reach out in acts of imperfect love.
So let's love. Imperfectly. Risking failure--and equally risking success. Let's love even when it doesn't seem fair, when we don't understand--when we have no words.