There are few things in life that can drive you more crazy and also bring so much happiness as a younger sister. Today is my “little sister’s” birthday and while I am happy to celebrate it with her I am somewhat dumbfounded as to how we got this old. She and I are almost two years apart in age. This means that I always had someone to play Barbies with and as we got older knew exactly where to look when one of my shirts went missing. She and I have had plenty of years of both playing and fighting hard together; I am glad to say at this stage in life it seems to be all gravey (subtle Thanksgiving reference).
And so at 40, I finally have to admit that I “may” not know everything and possibly could have learned a few things from my little sis over the years (I am sure I am breaking one of many rules of the “Big Sisters’ Club”.) Here are just a few truths I’ve picked up from her along the way.
You can be generous no matter your situation.
My sister was a single mom for much of her life. She worked hard, but money was tight and unexpected expenses could have a serious impact. Despite this, I remember my sister always wanting to get a little something for her girlfriends at the holidays. I also recall many times when she would use what limited resources she had to help out someone else (usually another mother) who was going through a hard time, especially during the holidays.
It’s a tumor . . . now get back to living.
I’ll never forget getting the call from my mom that my sister had a brain tumor and that it was inoperable. That was 8 years ago, just months after the Weatherman and I were married. I remember getting on my treadmill and running as fast and as hard as I ever had – trying to outrun what I was sure was a death sentence for my sister. And so, for the next year or so she got the kid glove treatment as she went from appointment to appointment. She was even exempted from Thanksgiving dish duty because she “had a tumor.” And then, guess what? She kept on living. The scans to monitor the tumor were further and further apart as the doctors realized it wasn’t growing. She’s gotten married. She’s seen her son graduate from high school. She’s met her nieces. And, she’s still in the business of living and back in the dish washing rotation.
Inviting someone to church is not like inviting them to prom.
I love being a part of my church and serving and worshiping there. However, it’s not until recently that I’ve gotten around to inviting anybody to church with me. I imagine my response was a lot like a guy asking a girl to the prom. I’d spend a lot of time thinking about it, wondering what they’d think? What if they said “no”? What if they said “yes”? Was this a good fit for them? What if people weren’t friendly or were too friendly? Usually by this point I could work myself into a sweat.
But not my sis. I’ve seen her invite and bring so many different people to church. I’ve seen her walk moms through the child check-in process and then settle into near front seats with them. This is being the church.
Compassion is an important gift.
Generally, I am not the person you go to when you need a shoulder to cry on. I am the girl that tells you to “put your big girl panties on” and “suck it up”. I am the person you go to when you have a problem and want some help putting together a plan of attack.
My sister, she is the compassionate one. I saw her work gently and patiently with my grandma as she spent her remaining years in a nursing home. My sis had experience working in those settings and was so good with both my mom and grandma during those difficult years. She didn’t shy away from the memory loss and personality changes, nor did she shy away from the hurt our mom was experiencing as she saw our grandma through those days.
Today and everyday I am grateful for my sissy.