I have a brother. His name is Joel. He's been my best friend ever since day one.
I used to pull his long blond curls when I was a baby. I think that began my fascination with curls. It also was the beginning of a great friendship. We were always either boiling mad at each other or best friends. There was rarely an in-between. And usually the boiling mad would give out to the best friends; that's just the way it worked.
All of my favorite childhood memories involve Joel. We moved around a lot but he was always my guaranteed friend. The world could be crashing down around us and you'd find us fighting it out for each other.
My best memories are of Joel.
There was the day at our little cabin in Idaho; we had always wanted to go fishing and this was the day to make it happen. Worms weren't very easy to obtain but centipedes were. We gathered a whole bread bag full of them. Unfortunately, we ran out of time. (Not that we had the other necessary equipment anyway. I don't think we had thought ahead far enough to realize we needed a hook.) I remember mournfully dumping the bag over the bridge rail and looking down at the water with Joel. We hoped that the fish would have a good meal with the centipedes we had found.
I remember long road trips in the back of the camper. We'd read for hours and then, when it got dark, stare out at the passing cars, talking about anything and everything. I wonder what we talked about for so long.
We'd go to the library every music-lesson day. We'd quietly compete to see who was getting the most books. And by books, I mean piles and piles of books. I got mad when Joel started reading books from the adult section. He would justify his smaller number of books by pointing out the number of pages or their reading difficulty. Twasn't fair. I would try to act like I was interested. I remember one time when I stole his book on quantum physics. I tried to "pretend" I was reading it. I think I made it to page four before becoming completely lost and bored. I'm sure he had me figured out but he was nice about it anyway.
Joel and I always rate weddings on the quality of their mints. We've played in so many, we have quite the accurate rating system. I think I'll let Joel pick out the mints for my wedding. ;)
Joel led the way when it came to taking God seriously. I watched him begin to read his Bible for himself, go on mission trips, and share his testimony. It made me want to do the same.
I remember friday nights after the parents had gone to bed. We'd sit in the living room and talk or do something fun - like toss green grapes across the room and catch them in our mouths.
I've always been fiercely protective of my brother. I'll defend him until the day I die. And I usually end up crying a lot too. He means the world to me and I can't imagine life without him.
Friendships are dynamic. They change; they grow. It's a bit weird to be getting married; It's just been the two of us for so long. As excited as I am to be getting married, I don't want things with my best friend to change. All I know is that Joel is my brother and he will be for the rest of my life, and after that, and in heaven. Nothing will ever change that.