My brother Andrew (sibling just older than me) used to be called Gills. And then he was called Lenny. And at some point when he was in fourth grade his eyesight deteriorated. Then he was Lenny with freckles and really thick glasses.
Being sorta blind became part of my brother's identity. He would squint all the time. When I close my eyes and imagine my past, I see Andrew with his squinting blue eyes. After years of glasses he started to use contacts to see. So contact cases and bottles of solution became a part of our bathroom decor. And when we went on family vacations my mom was always worried about my brother's eyes, whether he was being responsible about proper contact care.
The fact remained that my brother could not see very well, having eyesight aid would be his life's burden. And my brother Andrew is really such a sweetheart. He didn't share his disability with any other sibling, this was his genetic impairment and his alone.
Lenny, the brother who can't see very well.
Then he grew up and met this brunette from Southern California, Megan. Megan could see just fine (though I questioned this one night when she told me she thought my brother was cute). We warned Megan about Lenny, his strange fear of Roman busts, his propensity to faint when bothered (passed on to our Chief, thank you) and his package deal of thick glasses, contacts, solutions and eyesight frustrations.
She married him anyway.
Along with Megan came a mother-in-law Paula and a father-in-law Ed. One day Paula was praising the modern day miracle of laser vision correction. She went in to the ophthalmologist, let him cut her cornea with a laser and ta da! hours later she was vision corrected! Then Ed, who was older in his years, but also mature in the ways of generosity, told my brother that he'd help pay for Andrew to get his eyes corrected as well.
Of course, Ed had the means to help my brother with this costly, elective surgery. Even still, sometimes the people who have the means to help others don't always have the heart. But Ed did. And so my brother took his father-in-law up on the offer and in a short visit was completely healed of an otherwise lifetime ailment.
Lenny, the brother who no longer squinted.
This morning as I headed out the door I found Andrew in my driveway. He got out of his car and gave The Chief a piece of candy.
"Why aren't you at work?" I asked him.
"My father-in-law passed away this morning."
Ed had been in-and-out of the hospital these past few weeks due to complications with diabetes. He was in his eighties and had lived a good life, but my nieces wished him to live decades more. He fought and tried, but heaven won.
Heaven always wins.
And I've always wanted to figure out how we can heal like Jesus did. He would put his hands on the blind and made them see. Made them whole. How do we do that with our lack of faith and intelligence?
Then today I realized--in a way--Ed did that for my brother.
Thank you, Ed. You will be missed.