It’s my big brother’s birthday today!!!
There was a time when I was “Nathan’s Sister.” I always kind of liked it. To me, Nathan was the best thing since sliced bread. He was smart and funny. He was never cool or popular in the high school sense of the words. To me, though, that was because he was above that. He never had to fit in, because he just was who he was. Gosh, I wanted to be just like him!
I was thinking about him and his life, and I thought to myself that he has everything he could probably want, for now. He has a beautiful, caring, talented wife. A healthy, happy,baby boy. A great job. A good life, full of purpose and meaning and that kind of everyday greatness that makes it such an adventure!
I began to think about the lessons I’ve learned from him. And I decided, why not write him a tribute on my blog?
So these are some of the things I’ve learned from being Nathan’s Sister:
Work hard. Work long. Work well. When I got my first job at the same grocery store where Nathan worked, I knew I had a lot to live up to being his sister. Nathan has always been that guy. The employee who showed up early and the one who stayed late. He was the one who always, always got the job done. From the time he worked in a grocery store stocking produce shelves to his current job as a District Manager, he has always taken his jobs to heart and given them his very, very best. His work ethic has inspired me time and time again.
Don’t quit. We would often play video games together as kids growing up. Nathan was always better than I was. At everything. But especially at video games. And sometimes, right in the middle of a game, I would get really upset after being beaten for what seemed like the millionth time, and I would stomp away mad. I could hear him calling after me, “What are you going to do, huh? Be a quitter?” And I would stop, and I would think to myself that I couldn’t be a quitter. And I would turn around and come back. And maybe he would let me win once. And maybe he wouldn’t. But I wouldn’t quit.
During the absolutely worst swim meet of my life, when I was just a kid, I left the pool yard crying – just absolutely beside myself. I didn’t want to swim anymore, ever again. I can remember being so angry and so frustrated, hiding on the playground from the coaches and other kids and my parents, sobbing. But that thought wouldn’t let me go. That realization gnawed at my broken and defeated heart. I remembered that I wasn’t a quitter. I wasn’t. I knew that. I knew it from Nathan. And I knew that nothing would change. And nobody would let me win. But I collected myself, and I went back in to finish.
When in doubt: pun. I wish I hadn’t learned this… but whatever. We can’t always pick the lessons we learn, now can we? Nathan can make up puns for everything… EVERYTHING. I love him anyway.
If it’s the right thing, do the hard thing – no matter how long it takes. We’ve had our fair share of difficult choices. I’ve watched my brother wait and work and chip away at things, time and time and time again. Because it was the right thing. And perhaps it was a long, hard dream. But it was right. And so worth doing, if only for that reason. Nathan has always seen who he is and who he wants to be, and he’s always kept working toward becoming an even better man. That’s what makes him great. He never settles – no matter what or how long or how hard. He keeps going forward, building a better life for his family. He’s one of my heroes. And he keeps me thinking that no matter how large the dream or how long you dream it, keep going. If it’s the right thing, do the hard thing. No matter how long it takes.
There you are; these are the lessons from being Nathan’s Sister that stick in my brain the most. I am so fortunate to have a brother who is also a friend and a mentor and an inspiration and I am oh-so-grateful for all the things I’ve learned from him.
…except for the puns. That’s good for absolutely nothing.