Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with. ~ Thomas Carlyle
My brother Sam’s birthday is actually July 6th, but I can’t wait that long to write this post. He’s the last of my birthday tributes and yesterday is the anniversary of a re-birthday.
Sam has experienced coming out of the dark in a way that none of us would ever want to experience or could endure. His emergence has been thrilling for all of us who love him to watch.
Samuel is the caboose in the train of kids so it’s fitting that he cabooses my blogging birthday tributes.
(What a fun wife you have!)
My Earliest Memories of You:
From age 8 to 10, I remember laughing at your 2 to 4-year-old self constantly. I thought you were born for my entertainment. You were such a ham and everybody loved you!
I remember the story Mom likes to tell. You were so distraught one day when you couldn’t find your ball (I think you were 3 or 4). Mom told you to go pray and ask Heavenly Father to help you find it. So you did. And you found it and you were so thrilled that you did. I remember because it taught me that God wants us to be happy. Even if it was just a ball, it was important to you.
I remember you crying if Parker and I, Ashley and I, or anybody else was fighting. You hated contention of any kind.
You and Parker making huts. Huts in the basement. Huts in the back yard. Huts dug by a backhoe. Huts in the wall of a desert wash. Huts, huts and more huts.
My Fondest Memories:
There’s this one memory I have that has stuck with me. And every time I thought of your trials over the years, it came back to the surface…
We were teenagers. We were in the basement practicing singing or something. Someone else was there with us. Someone or something made you mad, I don’t remember who or what, but in the end it was just you and me left. You were madder than I had ever seen you and it hurt me to see you upset so I cried. We looked at each other. I don’t remember what I said, something like, “It’s going to be ok”. What I remember for sure is a connection we made. It tied me to you in a strange way that I don’t know how to explain. It’s even bringing tears to remember it now. So many pieces of the story missing, yet still so powerful to me.
You and your family living in the basement apartment while we lived above. I feel so blessed to have had that time where you would randomly pop in and chat. Time to spend watching you take care of your wife and three kids. Time to be the brother I had missed for many years.
Traits That Might Signify We Chose to be Siblings in Pre-Earth Life (or maybe you just rubbed off on me):
That contention thing. It makes me shake to watch people fighting. We hate contention but will stand up for something we believe in, even if we have to get contentious ourselves.
We don’t like to be the center of attention but can be pushed by determination and a love for something to perform.
There’s also that sensitivity thing– about knowing someone’s heart and acting toward them accordingly whether it’s in kindness, love or avoidance.
We know that Grandpa Charlie understands our trials better than most.
What I Admire Most About You:
Watching you take care of your kids is one of the sweetest series of happenings I’ve ever observed. You’re so patient, caring and gentle. I know your kids will grow up with that same impression outweighing anything else.
I love that you have spent so much time exploring the outdoors that you could live there for a while if you had to.
I’m always fascinated to hear the things that you learn about the environment or history because you’re a good teacher–you make it sound interesting.
(Showing the kids a lizard.)
What I admire most about you is your spiritual strength. People say that about you a lot, I know.
But I’m proposing that people are not saying it just because you are more quiet than most. That it’s not just because you speak up when you feel you have something important to say. Not just because of the way you see a need and serve people. And, I’m proposing that it’s not just because of the way you have climbed up your mountain of afflictions and triumphed. I say it is because of the power that is felt when in your presence. That alone could be why people say it. That power has always been there and is only getting stronger. Witnessing all of the other stuff just confirms what we feel.
I find it fascinating that Grandpa Charlie polished stones and turned them into jewels. That’s the process described in the quote at the top which has turned you into a sparkling jewel.