April 8, 2018 Today is Brad’s birthday. He would have been 68 today. Today I want to remember Brad. I would love to listen to stories and see pictures. So feel free to share if you have one that we would enjoy.
Brad loved his farm. He loved Jan’s gardens, the forests and the pond. He loved to hunt. He was just a country boy at heart. He was married for 38 years to Jan. Over the years I saw many struggles in their marriage as they dealt with his alcoholism and being a blended family. But lately it seemed like I saw them settle in to a comfort with each other as they embraced retirement and looked forward to growing old together. I noticed when I talked to him he praised her about how good she was too him. I saw a man that loved his wife.
He struggled with his temper. He would get offended and cut off people when there was misunderstandings. He did that with my dad and it was no wonder that his kids played the same game with him. I saw a desire though for those relationships but he didn’t seem to know how to forgive, apologize and obtain reconciliation. So he continually experienced a broken heart over broken relationships. Brad didn’t know that he needed God. That it is with God that we can forgive and accept others for who they are. It is only with God that relationships can truely be restored. He didn’t know.
I am going to miss him. We had started relationship on messenger. We would connect with each other and couple times a week checking in. It wasn’t much but it was a start. There was even a conflict and apology. He seemed to want one but it was difficult to be a giver of encouraging words.
When I was a kid, I always looked up to my brother. I wanted a relationship with him. I wanted to spend time with him. There was always that desire. But as we became adults our brokenness got in the way. I learned about boundaries and that was helpful. Then I realized that if we want relationships that sometimes it needs some creativiity in order to achieve that. So that was what I was working on. Brad came over for Mom’s birthday dinner that I had with my kids. We had a trip planned to go to Tennessee golfing. He was so excited about that. He even bought a new set of golf clubs and was anxious for them to arrive; hoping it was before he left. We were both working on the relationship.
It is amazing how something like this affects so many people. I have definatley felt the prayers and concerns of our family, friends and Church. I so appreciate the power that is going up on our behalf. It has been really nice to connect with those that have come; Andy, Aaron, Laurie and thier daughter, Jeremy, Ben & Justin, Will. And those that have connected via FB, messenging or texting. The love has been felt abundantly.
I believe in heaven and hell. I don’t pretend to know where my brother is right now. Is he like the thief on the cross that cried out to Jesus in the last moment? I sure hope so. Only God knows. We don’t have any control over what has been done. It is past. But we do have control over what our life looks like. If you are a believer in Christ, you know that it is all about relationships: our relationship with God, our relationship with ourself, and relationships with others. God wants everyone to be saved and to be able to live with him forever. If you don’t believe; you don’t have that hope and I have no words of comfort. But I will say this, “be sure of what you believe.” If what I believe is true that those that don’t believed are screwed. If what you believe is true then there is no choice or redemtion and we are all in the same boat.” I am going to stay a believer in Christ. I know that “this far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samual 7:12.