Some things only brothers understand. I always see pictures, picture frames, and wall art that talk about sister this and sister that. You never see grown men with wall art about their brothers. Don’t worry; this isn’t a post about men needing cheesy artwork on their wall. But, there is something different about brothers. We have a unique insight probably due to the fact that we grow up in constant competition, ragging and covering up for each other.
Insights that only brothers can pull out of their tool bags to support each other or pull out of their sheath as a weapon to destroy one another. Brothers know all the right buttons to press, dials to turn, and switches to flip to swing the emotions of the other just where they want them, usually on the edge of an extreme reaction. We see brothers time and time again in scripture using their insight to both support and destroy each other. Cain and Able were brothers that jealousy tore apart which lead to Cain killing Able. Jacob and Esau got in such a dispute that Jacob had to run from his brother. It took almost an entire lifetime for Jacob to get the nerve to face his brother again. Jesus tells the story of the “Prodigal Son”. If you remember the story correctly, the older son holds a grudge against his younger brother when he returns from squandering his father’s money and making a fool of himself. On the flip side, it was Andrew that meets Jesus and runs as hard as he can to tell his brother Peter. Then its James and John who leave their fishing company to follow Jesus together. Jude and James “the younger” were brothers that followed Jesus. That means half of the disciples followed Jesus with their brother.
Brothers have insights that only brothers can pull out of their tool bags to support each other or pull out of their sheath as a weapon to destroy one another.
I watched my little brother turn to Jesus in the kitchen when he was 12, I soon followed Jesus myself. But, that’s not the story I want to tell here.
My brother took up hunting about 6 years ago. I took it upon myself to make sure he had everything he needed. Cover scent (buying your brother urine to pour on himself, awesome), grunts, rattles, and anything else that it looked like he needed, I got him. But, I knew nothing about hunting and didn’t have any interest…then he got Lyme disease. Side effects of Lyme disease include anxiety, fearing what could happen, and feeling like things just aren’t right with your body. So 3 years ago, I took up hunting so my brother could go out and hunt. I got all the gear I needed: a rifle, head-to-toe insulated camo, and cover scent (covering yourself in urine, not as awesome). We hunted within shouting distance for 2 years, texting back and forth. In the first 2 years of hunting, I didn’t see a single deer! Not one! Sitting morning after morning in the freezing cold and then climbing out of tree stands in the pitch black and I see nothing!
Thanksgiving always falls on the opening of gun season and my brother is feeling much better now, almost back to his old self. So we decided to head out on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. We gear up and hike out to a new spot that he has been scouting and climb up into a 2 person deer-stand. After sitting as quietly as we can for over 2 hours, he nudges me right at sunset and whispers, “Deer, get your gun ready”. For the first time in 3 years, I have a deer in my sights! That deer was so far away and so small that when I put my cross-hairs on it the deer completely disappeared. However, I instantly knew my brother’s intentions; he was going to make sure I got a deer.
“It’s far off. I’ll have to be a good shot. Do I want my first deer to be a doe? Why isn’t it moving? Well if it’s not going to move.” BANG!!!
4:15 am – BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Time to get up, sneak out of the house, and drive off into the dark. Beating the sun to the deer-stand with the crisp 27 degree chewing at the tip of my nose, a feeling that I have told myself now for 3 years is how I am going to get a deer. My brother and I get situated in the stand right at 5:30 am; sunrise is at 6:23 am. The first signs of the sun making its rounds have just started; I am surrounded by that funny gray color the world gets in the moments before the sun peaks out from the horizon. My brother just whispers “deer”, points and then says “it’s a doe, if you think you can make the shot.” I raised my gun and a black silhouette of a deer is painted against a gray canvas. Thoughts race through my mind… “It’s far off. I’ll have to be a good shot. Do I want my first deer to be a doe? Why isn’t it moving? Well if it’s not going to move.” BANG!!! I have just shot what sounds like a cannon blast, he leans over and whispers, “I think you got it! I saw it drop.” Not 30 seconds later he says, “There’s another one shoot it you have the shot.” I never saw that deer… All of a sudden there was a barrage of gun blast coming from his rifle. It sounded like “there was a firefight!” To be clear, it was only 2 shots, but it sounded like he had just started a war!
“There was a firefight!”
As we sat waiting perhaps for another deer to walk out, he told me that what felt like an eternity of thoughts flying through my head was really a smooth 5 seconds of swinging the gun up, steadying, and taking the shot. He said it was calmer than he had ever been when he sees a deer. Then this look came across his face. “Haley, what if you shot a buck? That was a big body doe, it would be really exciting to walk up and it be a buck. But, I think we got 2 does.” We climbed down out of our stand and walked directly to where I shot the deer, but there was no deer, just a drop of blood. What! I missed! And then I saw it just 25 feet away from where I shot it, laying just on the other side of some tall grass where I couldn’t see it very clearly. My brother ran over to it and started yelling, jumping and pumping his fist like he had just won the World Series, “It’s HUGE! You did it, you got a BUCK! It’s bigger than anything I’ve ever shot!” I didn’t care about that deer at all in that moment. Don’t get me wrong; sitting in the woods that long, I wanted a deer, bad. But, my brother wanted it for me more. I’m not sure if he knew it was a buck or if it really was the biggest deer he had the opportunity to shoot, but I can’t help but think he did. But, that wasn’t his goal. His goal was to get me a deer.
Thank you Casey, my brother.
Brothers know what we need, sometimes better than you do. They understand that fixing something doesn’t necessarily mean fixing it. Sometimes what we need is a win and brothers know how to make that happen. They know if they sacrifice themselves for their brother, it will be returned, somehow, someday.
Brothers understand that fixing something doesn’t necessarily mean fixing it. They know if they sacrifice themselves for their brother, it will be returned, somehow, someday.
Not to spiritualize things too much but as the oldest child, I didn’t have a big brother until Jesus. He knows what I need way more than I ever will. He sacrificed Himself for me just as any good big brother does for their little brother. That gift is free, but He knows as a brother, I will sacrifice my life for Him, somehow, someday. Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
Not to leave the other brother out (that would turn the wrong crank). As I am carving the beautifully grilled Thanksgiving turkey, a chunk of salt and spices flies into my eye and I let out a yell of pain and frustration. As I’m trying to get to the sink to flush my eye out, I see out of the corner of my eye my other brother, in slow-motion, in the air, completely clearing the couch trying to get to me. He grabs the syringe I use to inject the turkey, fills it with water and begins to flush my eye. (Don’t worry, the needle was not attached or I would have passed out.) Brothers know what to do, when you don’t.
Thank you Hunter, my brother.
Brothers, I love you both.
Jonathan Haley Uhrig © 2014