My brother received my letter.
I mailed it on Wednesday, January 2. He received it on his way out the door on Tuesday morning, January 8. By 8am that same day, I had an email waiting in my inbox...from him.
When I saw his name as the sender...our father's name...I gasped and immediately began trembling. Bryan asked what was wrong and I bit my lower lip and slowly choked out, "He sent me an email."
The kids hadn't left for school yet, so Bryan's first response was a hurried, "Don't read it." and I quickly snapped the laptop shut. I was trembling in fear.
I saw that there was no subject and my mind immediately went to, "Does he say in the body of his message never to contact him again?" I really couldn't stand it. I paced for a few minutes, then realized that my kids might notice my bizarre silent meltdown. So, I sat on the couch quietly...and opened a little gift that Zach had made for me at school. I was seeing spots, but ooh'ed and ahh'ed over his gift just the same. Then he handed Bryan a gift, which happened to be a DVD of the 3rd grade productions from first semester. Which, of course, he wanted us to watch right then. We "watched" them, but I'm not sure either of us actually saw what was on the TV screen.
As soon as the boys left for school, Bryan offered to read the email to me. Not normally one to want to be read to, I agreed. I was nearly catatonic - seriously seeing spots - so I am not sure I could have focused my eyes to read it right then if I'd wanted to. Before he read it, I asked if he was nice. Bryan assured me that he was. Next I asked if it was very long, and Bryan said it wasn't. I [part sarcastically/part seriously] scoffed, "What?!?! I wrote three pages and he didn't write much back?" He suggested I wait before assessing... He read it to me. And Bryan was right, he was sounding nice enough... Then he closed in on the end:
"Thanks for taking the time and effort to find me. I knew about you, I
even used to have a picture of you when I was a kid, but I guess my
experiences with my dad, our dad, kind of soured me on the idea of
trying to reach out. Have a great day, and I look forward to hearing
from you again."
To which, Bryan and I both teared up. He'd known. He'd had a picture. He looked forward to hearing from me again. And... He'd made it a priority to write me back within hours of reading my letter.
That day, we exchanged eleven emails over a span of 12 hours. And, just as I sent him what I expected what would be the last email of the night, he impulsively called me. We talked for another four hours.
We have since talked, emailed or texted at length every day. He is so very much like me, and not at all like I'd feared he might have been.
Naturally, he googled me... He says I'm "all over the internet". As of yesterday, he'd read my entire blog. Four years worth of ramblings. He's got impressive determination, endurance and stick-to-it-ive'ness.
I always thought I was writing this blog for my kids' sake - so that, should anything happen to me, they would forever have these words, these stories... They would know my heart. It never occurred to me that this blog would one day be used to help my brother get to know me.
Knowing that he was reading caused me to go back and read a little too... It was nice to revisit my life's story, to see the hand of God... I am reminded again that God always has a plan. God never ceases His work. All things really do work together for the good of those who love Him. I am both overwhelmed and humbled by His care and constant work in my life.
Everything has come together for this...
As I've looked back over my life, I've come to realize that I really had a lot of healing to do before I was ready to know my brother. As much as I'd asked about him over the last 15 years, I wasn't ready until just now. I needed to be at peace with the abuse from my childhood, with my biological father's absence and rejection, issues with my mother, and the passing of each of my parents... I needed that peace, wholeness, closeness with God in order to wade into this newest journey relying on Him, not reaching out for another person to fill God-sized holes. There is such freedom, no pressure, no outrageous expectations as my brother and I get to know one another. Just peace. And joy. And fulfillment.