This is my older sister. Also my best friend. Also the more interesting half of my wardrobe for the first 24 years of my life. I like to think that we belong among the immortal starry hosts of "sister acts":
Elinor and Marianne...
Betty and Judy...
Or basically any of the March sisters.
See? Exuding class and charm.
My friend Carrie inspired me to participate in Nablopomo this month. The theme is "Relative," so I've been thinking about my relatives -- both the blood relations and the "kindred spirits" -- and all they've taught me. "Outdo one another in showing honor," says Romans 12:10. I can't hope to honor my relatives highly enough, but I want to use the month of February -- which is all about love, right? -- to try.
When I had just learned to walk, a common sight and sound in our house consisted of Emily walking through a room and me stumbling after her, calling, "Em! Em!" While maybe more figuratively than literally, I have continue to try to follow her lead of creativity, inquiry, and steadfastness in relationships.
I've heard it said that "siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring." A family of eight kids definitely has its share of unfair, uncooperative, unkind, uncaring moments -- but we certainly learned to SHARE everything. Bedrooms, clothes, parents' attention, etc. We shared because we had to. Em and I have shared hairbrushes, school textbooks, even a car. But at some point between childhood and adulthood, sharing became a pleasure instead of a duty. Emily now shares because she loves. She shares food she enjoys, stories she finds interesting, clothes that she thinks will flatter someone, space that will minister to a wandering soul.
Oddly enough, our sophomore year of college was the first time that Emily and I did NOT have to share a room. We lived across campus from each other and rarely saw each other. That year was one of the darkest times of my life emotionally and spiritually. One particular night when I was near the proverbial "rock bottom," Emily happened to call me. I don't know what she heard in my voice, but she simply asked me if I would like to go sleep over in her room. This simple gesture of sharing space that was hers was life-giving. It sounds dramatic, but it kept me going. Emily is acutely aware of the creature comforts that are called for in a given situation, and will do whatever is in her power to provide them.
Emily has also been an example to me of persisting in love. Every family has its cracks, but I guess ours have just become more apparent in recent years. It would be easy to distance herself and stay away until it's all over, but Emily isn't afraid to look the cracks in the face, acknowledge them, and earnestly do the work of repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. Because these people who have known you from birth? They're too important to lose without a fight.