Thursday, January 24, 2008

finding humility on highway 330

"i'm sorry," he says.
"I know your sorry." I look away from him, not because I am mad at him, but because I am disappointed with myself.
We had such a lovely day and still we manage to fall into these roles when a situation or our environment becomes strained. Like trained robots with a default for dysfunction.
And I watch him running up the side of the road to flag help, but I know that he's really doing it because he feels bad.
And then I feel bad. Why do I react the way I do to him? Why am I so hard?
Throughout his life, he has never done anything on purpose to hurt me or make my life complicated.
He always tries to do the right thing, and yet when the right thing turns into three hours stranded on the side of the road, I get so angry at him for even trying in the first place.
Then I try to make it better by calming him down or cracking some dumb joke but I know that he sees through that.
We are never as clever as we think we are, especially when it comes to family.
And after flagging several motorists down, a fight with AAA, and a "Hail Mary" call to 911...
I remember that there are wire cutters under my seat.
He takes them from me and in five minutes cuts us out of the situation.
I am humbled.
I am sorry.
I am embarrassed.
Define humility.

I see his apartment and I ask to use the bathroom.
It is immaculate. Not even a drop of toothpaste spit or water marks around the sink. It is orderly, neat, organized.
I go into his room. The bed is made. There are no clothes on the floor. Every picture has a frame and the things that matter to him are delicately and perfectly placed around his room.
It is calm.
It is focused.
It is serene.
How did he get this? Where did he get this?
And it strikes me that even though I am older, there may be a lot I can learn from my younger brother.
Define humility.

"I'm glad you do everything before me," he says. "So, like, in two years when I want to quit my job and travel across the country and have no idea how I'm going to make money, I'll just do it. Cause you will already have done it."
I adore this kid.
"Or," I say, "you may be a lot better off and a lot more successful at 26 then I was."
He laughs.
Define adoration.

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