Freestyle is included in the title for good reason- this is a rather unedited, straight from the head & the heart kind of post. Longer yes- so I don't even really expect a lot of people to read it . It is mostly for myself. But if it could invite you to rejoice over the life of my little brother, and more so bring honor to our Creator & how He uniquely uses people in our lives, then please read on....
Today is my brother's birthday. And even though there is ache, my heart keeps returning to celebration. That was not something I could automatically do when he died, so I am grateful that it is more true for me today- the celebration part, the grateful for the 22 years together part. This is his 6th birthday in heaven- and I cannot even imagine all the beauty of what that means. I have tried a little bit today to imagine it & I realize that my mind just does have the capacity for it (in a good way.)
In all the ways that Jon influenced the lives of many on this earth while he was here, I can testify that, in my own life, he has influenced me in so many ways still. God still uses my little brother to change my life.
For example, when it comes to loving cultures & people, I still find inspiration from him. I find myself having a lot of "what would Jon do?" moments when it comes to enjoying Indonesia & loving all the cultures I am surrounded by- esp. when I come to the end of myself & irritation arises & man, yah, I need a brother in that situation.
I used to worry so much about my little brother. Silly things, not so silly things. His class schedules, did he know the right teachers to take, the mold on his dorm wall, would he keep getting sick because of it, even down to the glasses he never wore but needed in class- all these things don't matter now. There is a relief honestly, I don't worry about him now.
That influences the way I live now- with other people.
A few months before Jon died we had this great conversation. We were driving back from celebrating our momma's birthday all together (rare.) It was a drive back from Etown to Cville. Another rare thing for us-just the two of us in a car. I told him that I was sorry for being so over protective, so controlling, maybe trying to help him too much with class stuff, and other life stuff. I confessed that I was probably working my whole life to make up for a time in our past that I thought I didn't protect him.
His response brought me so much...life.
He said something like this: "Oh no way. I don't think that I could not have made it through school without you, being you, helping me out. So no need to apologize. "
I really wish it was recorded. I wish so much of our life together was recorded. At the end of our time together here, I stopped wanting to take pictures, because I felt insecure because of all the weight I have gained. I totally regret that. I let my insecurity steal some of those precious pictures from me.
Jon & I were opposites. Most of the times that happens with 1st & 2nd born kids. This of course meant conflict a lot of the time. I wish I lived differently in so many moments with Jon- wish I just responded differently. Not with irritation, trying to control or be bossy, or teach him something, but just enjoy him. Learn from him like I am now. Man, what I would give to have one more fight with that guy, just to be with him.
I have had so many dreams of Jon, especially since he died. Some are precious, some are difficult.
There was one that is treasure to me. He was dancing, not unusual. It was the kind of dancing he used to do in high school (and get in trouble for) called skanking that went with the Ska music he used to love. And in the dream, as I got closer , he started pointing to his left, and I turned to look at what he was pointing at. I saw Jesus there, seated at the right hand of God.
I walked away from that dream, like I now come away from many of my thoughts of Jon- thinking more of heaven, of eternity, of what I could focus on (and it would bring me life.) Thoughts of Jon often lead me to thoughts of Jesus. And truly- isn't that what we as Christians want to do. Jon is still living his life, doing just that. Leading people to Jesus. So subtle, but for me, really powerfully.
On the night Jon died- I was reeling with so many emotions, to say the least. I remember continually speaking out to the LORD that night this objection "Jesus, its my brother!!!"
With those words I meant "What were you thinking? How could you let this happen? Where are you? Do you know who he is? What this is for us & so many..."
And soon after that, after repeating it over & over...my words suddenly turned to "It's my brother-JESUS."
I shared this at Jon's funeral, I don't know if it made sense then or if it does now. But Jesus, as my brother, has met me in this loss, in this grief. He is that kind of brother. He met Mary & Martha when they lost their brother. He walked into that grief. He knew the end result of that situation, He was the end result. But he still wept with those sisters.
Once in one of the lowest parts of my life, back in 2005, when I was wrestling with deep depression- I was laying in bed just crying. My family was there, Greg was there as my boyfriend, but really no one knew what to do with me. But Jon came in the room, and he practically laid on top of me & starting praying in my ear. A kind of fierce prayer, the kind I needed. He was not afraid of me in that moment- he knew what to do. No one taught him that.
Today I ache for a Jon Bruckert hug. If anyone of you has had one you know what I mean. He would squeeze you tight & scrunch up his eyes, & link his arms to squeeze you in closer...just one of those irreplaceable things, those things that I ache for as I am on this side.
But today I have been led to my big brother Jesus by my little brother Jon- and I will take that. It is treasure. IT IS TREASURE.Happy birthday little brother.