After yesterday's two posts, I couldn't stop thinking about what was transpiring in regards to my brother. I was very disturbed and upset with him for being so seemingly selfish and self-absorbed. This has been just one of many times when he has made excuses to not make time with us individually or as a family. I find it to be very aggravating when he seems to not care about any of us. And each time something like this happens, I find myself being increasingly angry with him. This time was no exception.
Today, in class, we were learning about pre-Protestantism and how penance is a very important part of Catholic doctrine. Our teacher has a book that spoke of how during that time, (11th Century, I believe) priests read books and were practically trained to hear confessions and make sure people made complete confessions. And the book also talks about sins and the penance required to atone for that sin. One of the sins was being angry with your brother, and how if you refuse to be reconciled, you would be expected to do fasting and penance until that time when you were willing to reconcile with your brother. Even though the book was talking about people living in monastic communities, this really struck me.
After class ended, I came back to my room and decided to call my brother. He answered and I started the conversation without letting him know that I knew that he had said something along the lines that he was too busy to come to the hospital the day of Ma's surgery. We had a brief conversation, and I gave him the chance to talk without assuming things about him.
I'm learning more and more that my oldest brother is not like the rest of us who seem to really enjoy and thrive on family contact. He often responds to requests and invitations in a way that makes us think we are not important to him. But the interesting thing is that I think he usually changes his mind after he's been given some time to think. When I talked to him today, I think he had changed his mind about being with us at the hospital.
His change of heart and mind does not excuse his behavior, or my reactions to his behavior, but instead, this instance has been a way in which I have been able to have an insight about him and the way he acts. I just hope that as we continue on in life, we can get to understand each other better, see the others' points of view more clearly, and respect each other as more than fellow children of our mother, but as children of our Father. God grant me grace...