It has been a year since my older brother John and I have forgiven each other the wrongs done to one another in the past. Within the past year, countless amounts of spiritual growth has happened in our lives as we have moved forward beyond that blessed day of restoration and healing. In the span of a year, as I look back at the harvest that we tended to for a mere 365 days has flourished with an abundance of spiritual fruit as opportunity after opportunity has arisen since we sowed that seed of sanctification back in November of 2014.
Both of us have changed dramatically for the better as men of valor and virtue doing what we love. Doing what we dreamt of doing back when we were kids lying in bed, talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up, the women that we would marry, and the lives that we wanted to live out someday. For instance, the joy I find in storytelling and John’s knack for all things sports related has led us to pursue those passions for nearly a decade bringing us to a point when those childish fantasies are now vivid realities. Funny how some things never change. And who knows because maybe one day each of us will get to marry that special someone and have our own families in the near future. It’s strange to think back on what we wanted then and understand what we have now.
How if our younger versions of ourselves could see who we are today as grown men, I think they would be quite satisfied with the result. How back in the day, I would wear my dark blue blanket as a cape, holding a plastic recorder as a make-believe sword, and fight waves of imaginative evil forces attempting to crush the King’s castle with the aid of my younger brothers. To now being in film school actually making those fantasies a reality through the art of visual storytelling. Or how John would play hours of street ball after school with the kids in our neighborhood, getting smothered in dirt from the car-ridden pavement to now being the football star he aspired to be in his youth. Life truly is a constant reflection of the past and a redirection into the future.
It’s also interesting to note that now that we hit the reset button on our relationship as brothers and since the past is just the past, how we are really just starting from scratch. We kind of realized that because there was such division between us for so long, that now we don’t really know what the other is interested in or really anything about each other. It’s a bit odd, ironic, and exciting to embark forward not knowing who we are exactly and continue through as fellow friends. Like how I only recently found out he likes country music. Seriously, when did this crap happen?! Who dragged my brother into this cult?! What the pineapple?! But on a more serious note, it’s pretty cool to rediscover who we are after years of friction and division that we built between each other.
Every time we talk now we learn something new about each other. It’s strange because I would of figured as his closest brother age-wise that I would be his closest brother relation-wise. But I realize now after a year of sowing and reconstruction, how little I know about him and how little he knows about me. Yet it’s fun because we get to grow together in the next phase of our life which is extremely exhilarating to enter: adulthood. To think we can now at this point in our lives get married, have kids, buy a home, start a family, and so on. It’s absolutely incredible!
Another aspect that has changed in our relational dynamic as siblings is the mutual respect for each other as men. It’s odd. For example, we both know that if we ever did come to blows and physically fight now we would jack each other up. Although he would win hands down because as Ravi Zacharias’ wife has put it concerning her husband, “You have the arms of a thinker.” Plus, he’s athletic and I like Star Wars, so not much of a debate there. Then there is the way we treat each other as grown men, which I’m still getting used too and I bet he is too. How we do not settle for the childish disputes that used to divide us, but engage in very intellectual, mature conversations on things that matter like God, manhood, healthy living, and so on. We have gone from constructing things with legos to crushing iron with our bodies.
Also, I find it interesting on God’s part how He has weaved our lives closely together whether in times of division or in times of unification like how John performs in football games and I vend at football games. Or how we ask each other for nutrition and training advice, but have completely different philosophies when it comes to weightlifting in general. He lifts weights and eats right to improve his athleticism in football in order to perform better during his football season. While I’ll eat half a dozen donuts before a workout and then proceed to lift Strongman implements like a log press or a farmer’s carry because being stupid strong is awesome. It’s no wonder I get weird looks from my neighbors when I’m shirtless dragging a tire up a hill. Then again they could just be checking out my abs, but I’m almost positive it’s the former instead of the latter.
Anyways, this dynamic of ours reminds me of Proverbs 27:17 (NASB) which says “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Because what happens in the process of sharpening iron with iron? Sparks fly. I believe this analogy perfectly describes our dynamite relationship as brotherly buds because whenever we interact sparks are flying like the clashing of swords. Yes, we clash a lot because we are polar opposites in a lot of ways, yet that’s the very reason we usually come to each other for help. Cribari men are known for their cutthroat honesty and our relationship is no exception. Sometimes I’ll be doing something stupid, he’ll find out, then proceed to tell me how stupid I was in doing what I did, whatever it may have been, and vice versa. It’s nice to know we have that honesty, but boy can it hurt sometimes hearing the truth from someone else and at the same time so necessary. I’m just grateful that I know someone so close that can help me get to the heart of any issue and aid me in my times of trouble like my big brother John.
In short, this year has been quite blessed in the respect that a lot of growth has happened in all aspects of my life including this one. Having Thanksgiving so close right now, it’s nice see to these changes for which I’m very thankful for and reflect on how John has been instrumental in my life and to my development into adulthood. Until next time, Godspeed and Jesus bless!