Last weekend my brother Mike and I found ourselves at my father’s house late at night. I decided to stay over after a day of working, graduation partying, and birthday partying until 2 a.m. My brother, who works crazy chef hours, had a list of great ideas for an upcoming Trauma to Art event. I woke up at 6 a.m. that day and I couldn’t process anything he said. Eventually I raised my voice in exhaustion and frustration, “I haven’t even picked the date!” That was merely one statement in a sea of unintelligible exultations. I sounded like a child.
“Why haven’t I progressed beyond this?” is what I asked myself for the subsequent 72 hours. I’m always looking to absorb as much information as possible from books, museums, and exploratory travel. I only have so many years on this earth and I want to see and learn as much as possible. It’s humbling to realize there is no greater conquest than working on the relationships with my family.
I could study everything the Dalai Lama ever said or wrote. I could meditate until my heart is content. I could travel to the ends of the spiritual earth: the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the River Ganges in Varanasi, the Energy Vortices in Sedona, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, but all the inner peace in the world won’t grant me a lifetime free of stupid arguments with my brother and thinking so is one trivial pursuit.
After three days of reflecting on this incident in shear embarrassment I started to see playbacks differently. After we fought my brother hugged me. My apology, however peppered with residual exhaustion and discouraged shame, made the transcript.
The next morning before I headed home, my brother and I hugged. He said, “I love you.” I said, “I love you, too.” My brother is awesome like that. Even though I was the one with the fiery temper, he big-brothered our relationship back to its proper place as the world’s greatest brother and sister. That’s precisely why I’m committed to my familial relationships through better and worse. Because despite those moments where I’m at my worst, I also get to exult with pride, “That’s where I’m from!”