The Few. The Proud. The Marines' Sisters.9:30 AM
"Many will hear the calling. Few will earn the title: United States Marine."
My brother believed in doing hard things. At his graduation he encouraged us students to step out of our comfort zones and do those things which would break us, push us and mold us into the people of tomorrow. As the Marines say, "Pain is weakness leaving the body."
My brother also recognized that not everyone could be great. At his brother's birthday party he said, "Not everyone is a winner. There is a going to be a winner and there is going to be a loser. But the thing to remember is that if you're with Christ, you'll end up on the winning side."
It wasn't too long ago when my brother didn't believe anything of the sort. He shied away from hard things. He insisted he had the strength - when he didn't. I disdained him then, from a distance, in my own, private, holier-than-thou way. And of course, as with all disdain, I thought myself stronger, braver and smarter than him.
Funny thing - I got to know him. Not in the passing, deprecatory way two highly individualistic siblings do. Not in the shallow "what'd you do today?" or "what do you want to do tomorrow?" - somehow, in his bravery, he opened up to me. I got to see what few young women do get to see. I got to see something sisters may never get to glimpse.
I got to see a man's heart. I saw his weaknesses, his innermost worries, his most secret goals and highest callings. I saw him confidently and quietly sharing his faith with co-workers. I saw him rise head and shoulders above his orchestra mates and be recognized at his final concert. I saw him take action in service - I saw him strain and struggle to finish school - I saw him articulate a Christian worldview that I've never seen anyone top.
I've seen him at his worst, yes. All sisters must see that. But I got to see him at his best. Rarely do sisters ever receive that privilege.
I don't believe that all men will become great. Indeed, I do not believe all boys will become men, let alone great men. And with fear and trembling, I saw the Lord take a boy, a boy I infrequently admired, a boy I never thought would do anything notable - I saw Him take a boy, and transform him into a man.
As is with all men, my brother set out to claim his calling. It's a sad fact I have observed, that all heroes are always doing something heroic - that is to say, the hard, dirty, extraordinary things that define who they are. In like heroic fashion, my brother set out two weeks ago to this day to earn the title: United States Marine.
I regret my attitude. I wish I could say, "My brother is the man he is today because of the attitude of his sister." I cannot, and can only murmur, "My brother is the man he is today in spite of the attitude of his sister." That's the true measure of a man - to eke what little encouragement and love and respect from his acquaintances as he can and yet still hold true to his purpose.
Today, I am bursting with sisterly pride, joy and love. I love my brother - in every sense of the word. I am joyful about my brother - as only the Lord can give. Most importantly, most strongly, I am proud of my brother - for he has something of which to be proud.
I am proud, for I know my brother will be great someday - watch and see.