I’ve been wanting to write about my brother for about a year now, but I couldn’t do it.  It’s still not easy, to be honest.  As a matter of fact, that’s pretty much why I stopped blogging altogether, because I couldn’t write around it.  I couldn’t write about it, and I couldn’t NOT write about it.  So, I took a break, and just let the ground lie fallow.

But, this is okay.  This feels right.

Sometime in the early summer of 2013, it became obvious that he was on shaky ground again.  We tried reaching out to him, but it didn’t stop it.  He began the slow and painful journey back into his addiction.  It broke my heart, ticked me off, scared me to death.  Every emotion was dragged out into the open, whether I wanted it or not.  There were days that it weighed so heavily on me that I couldn’t breathe.  Some days, I handled it okay.  Some days, I handled it all wrong.  But all the feeling… it didn’t stop the reality of what was happening.  Every day was borrowed time– every phone call had the weight of horrible possibility.  We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know what it would be.

He was arrested a few weeks before Christmas of this year.

He was jobless, homeless, still in the process of breaking himself.  Being arrested saved his life.

So, now instead of laying in bed, wondering where he is sleeping, wondering where he is, what he looks like or how he’s getting food, or if he misses us and remembers any of his old life… I know where he is.  I know what he’s eating.  I know what he’s wearing.  And I know he’s thinking about his life.  With four blank walls around you, there’s no escaping your own thoughts.

I couldn’t write about this while it was happening.  I wanted to give him time and space and quiet– but the truth is, this is part of his story.  There’s no way to bury this.  He’s going through this, we’re going through it.  I want the end of this story to be one of triumph and healing.  But there’s no getting there if we pretend there’s nothing to overcome.  No pain to heal from.

I don’t know what happens from here.  I don’t know if this will be the last time, but I sincerely pray that it is. But I ask God for more than that, more than just my brother’s sobriety.  There are hurts in our family that run deep, hurts we don’t want to acknowledge.  Wounds that have healed over poorly, scars that have left us numb, pieces that don’t fit together as well as they should.  We have not been okay.  We have not been okay.  I’m not sure why that’s important to admit, but it is.  At least for me.  If that’s all I said, though, it wouldn’t be worth much.  We haven’t been okay, but God hasn’t left us.  He suffered with us.  He shared our pain, bore our burdens.  He listened when we cried, He dried our tears.  He was patient as we stumbled through anger and resentment and bitterness.  He upheld us when we were our weakest.  We weren’t okay, but we weren’t alone.  Not for a moment of this hard and terrible thing.  We were never alone.  This didn’t kill us.  The sorrow of our earthly troubles didn’t overcome Him.  He didn’t take the pain away, but it did not extinguish His goodness and mercy and His work within us.  What have we to fear, when He holds us so firmly in His Hand?  He is truly master over all.

So there you have it.  We’re in a quiet place now.  A place to catch our breath.  A place to assess our condition, check that we are still intact, still breathing.  And we are.  He has brought us from 2014, into a whole new year full of possibilities.  May we live in 2015, blessing His name in its highs and lows.

Happy New Year, all.

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