Monday, May 21, 2007

So Proud I Could Burst!

This past Sunday night, The Boss and I travelled with my younger sister and her husband to join the family in honoring and celebrating a great milestone in my younger brother's life. Sunday night was a graduation ceremony for a group of young men and their wives being launched into full-time ministry as pastors in their ministry circle.

Let me start by saying that I have always been extraordinarily proud of my little brother. I am extraordinarily (almost maniacally!) proud of all my siblings. I love being their older sister, love knowing that they have all grown to be amazing, godly, interesting and challenging adults that I am proud to call my very best friends. I love it all so much that I think I might creep them out occasionally - or at least make them wonder about my emotional stability! I tear up a lot when we are together - they're getting used to it.

There are 8 years between my brother and I, so I have many vivid memories of him growing up I remember volunteering in his kindergarten classroom and being proud of how friendly and kind he was. I remember attending countless Little League and basketball games, screaming from the stands and making a nuisance of myself. I remember being so proud of how loving and respectful and kind he was with our elderly neighbor ladies. I was proud to watch him court and woo his lovely wife, gentling his boisterous nature in respect for her more reserved nature. I was proud of excited he was to become an uncle for the first time to my Shaggy boy. I remember how protective he has always been over all the women in his life. I remember all those things with fondness, and enormous pride in the man that he has grown to be.

But I have never been as proud of him as I was last night. First, because this graduation represented the second generation of men to submit his life and whole future to the service of expanding and nurturing the kingdom of heaven. Second, because last night represented a sacrifice of more than 9 months of self. Being part of this program required them to move, live in a small bedroom with his wife in the home of their lovely host couple, and live in a world immersed in training and dying to self daily in a way few of us ever experience. And both of them did it with joy, never complaining or whining, and did it by serving others around them faithfully. This brings me to the final reason I was prouder than I have ever been. Last night, my little brother was honored by his peers as the student who most exemplified the spirit of humility and servanthood modeled by Jesus. I was so proud, I couldn't even scream from the stands. I could hardly swallow past the lump in my throat. There is no honor that they could have bestowed upon him that would have made me (or, I'm certain, my parents!) more proud.

See, we all know he's amazingly smart. We all know he has wonderful leadership skills. And we all know that he is a completely different man than he was even just a year ago. Those other awards were great, and I'm certain the recipients deserved them totally. But to know that my brother has been honored by the men who grew with him, cried with him, laughed with him and learned with him, for being a HUMBLE SERVANT LIKE JESUS is the highest honor I could ever think of for him.

Then get this: he called me this a.m. to thank us for giving up two days away from home to support him and join him in celebrating. (Like you coulda kept me away - I was SOOOOO going, no matter if I had to go alone! See, maniac!) And he tells me that he really believes that he shares that award, first and foremost with MOM (who I must say is one of the most selfless servant-hearted women I've ever known), and then with us, his sisters. Because in his opinion and his heart, he believes that we taught him by our lives what serving family and serving the local church really means. Blow. Me. Away. Not just tearing up anymore - fully crying. So incredibly shocked and proud. Again. Proud of this man, that he can so easily and selflessly deflect any praise and SHARE IT. Wow. And I've got to tell you, I only hope I can walk away from conversations like that deflecting all attention to my self and pouring right back onto my Savior. I was so proud of him I could have burst wide open, right then and there - all over again.

1 comment:

TCC said...

There are really no words that could or should add to that...'That's awesome!' just sounds really lame after your exuberant description.

Girl, you just make me smile.