This weekend, my brother was wed. As is always the case with weddings, it was a stressful time, and not everything went as planned. I won’t get into the specifics, but there were some disappointments and hard feelings. Among many families, there would been outright strife. I am prouder than I can say that such was not the case in mine. Anger, misunderstandings, and even an inability to reach consensus on essential (and I use that word in its full meaning) ideals, shall not break my family. Thank you, my loves, for your kindness to one another, even when you cannot see eye-to-eye.
But now I want to talk about Timothy. Although he’s my brother, I am sad to admit we do not know one another well. I was 18 years old and nearly ready to spread my own wings when he was born. It was long and long before we began to build a relationship upon common interests. Even now we have limited contact with one another and so haven’t been able to form the kind of bond I share with our sister. Nevertheless, I do know some things about him, and I think perhaps they’re the most important things.
Like me, Tim enjoys heroic fiction—science fiction, fantasy, roleplaying games, and comic books figure large in both of our lives. There are some who look down on such things as childish or escapist. Many others regard them as mere entertainment. It is rare to find someone who internalizes the lessons they teach and transform them into guiding principles. My brother is one such. It is true that he is sometimes foolish and very often silly. I imagine it is easy for some to dismiss him or think poorly of him, but anyone who looks a little deeper will, I think, discover something astonishing: He really believes in kindness and in compassion. That these things are of value for their own sake, and not just for what they bring us.
Certainly, many of us think that it’s better to be kind. Some even manage to appear to be kind, as long as we’re not inconvenienced. For most of us, though, it’s a superficial feature of a public persona. For Timothy, though, a regard for others is a core element of his psyche. That the strong should stand up for the weak isn’t mere philosophy, but a principle he will act upon, even to the breaking of his own body. I cannot think of another person that I would describe as valorous. But I cannot hesitate to apply the word to Tim.
I know that both of my siblings look up to me. I do my best to at least appear worthy of their regard, although I know that the reality fails to measure up to what they believe about me. But this is the truth: Danica and Tim, you’re both heroes in my eyes. I admire you more than I can say.