2009 has been a really good year.  I have learned so much…  I feel like I’ve been stretched in ways I hadn’t even imagined possible, been challenged to live unreasonably for the Lord, and made way more friends (in the space of one year) then I thought I’d have in a lifetime. :-)  Wow.

The biggest change in my outlook this past year became apparent to me on Saturday – in the middle of the snowstorm.  We had planned an evening of food, fellowship, and prayer for those who had gone to the Global Missions Health Conference back in November, and the snow became an insurmountable obstacle to that meeting.  I hadn’t realized how much I was looking forward to the evening until it got canceled.  I’d never been so disappointed about snow canceling something.  Usually I am ecstatic about snow because it means curling up by a roaring fire with a great book – an introvert’s dream come true.  But Saturday I was so disappointed about not being able to see friends that no book held my attention, the fire (though pretty) was not as engrossing, and there was no fun in decorating our Christmas tree.  That sounds more like an extrovert to me…

So much of the good in 2009 is thanks to my “new” brothers.  Let me explain…


First of all, I’m the oldest of my siblings.  (Begin at the beginning, you know?)  By the time I turned 10, I had five younger sisters.  I was homeschooled.  The other families we knew who homeschooled using the same program we used had… girls.  Lots of them.  Sure, I knew a few boys from Sunday School, but I never talked to them.  Sure, there were a few guys (very few) who I knew because of homeschooling – I’d see them once a year at a homeschooling conference (conversation usually amounted to little more than me smiling while my parents – and occasionally siblings – carried the talking).  My brother was born when I was almost 14.  It’s a big family thing, but my relationship with my real brother is probably more like a parent-child relationship (ask him!).

All that to say…

I never really talked to guys growing up (my sisters will no doubt gladly enlighten you on one notable exception, should you care to ask).

By the time I was in college, my goal in life was to be a missionary.  Pretty much every guy I’d ever “known” by that time was engaged or married.  And my worst fear (even to this day) was that I would someday have to choose between getting married and going to the mission field.

Logical conclusion: If I didn’t meet or talk to any single guys, ever, I wouldn’t ever have to worry about getting married and would therefore never have to worry about making the choice between a husband/family and the mission field.

Simple, right?

So I built walls instead of relationships.  I interacted with guys only as much as was needed to be civil (or to finish a group project).  I became a nurse.  I reduced my odds of meeting someone even further when I became an L&D nurse (the only guys who are brave enough to come onto a labor and delivery unit are either taken or crazy).  Check, check, check.

But at the same time, I cut myself off from meaningful fellowship.  The body of Christ is a body.  And guess what?  There are single guys out there who love Jesus.  Yes, I’m serious!  And the body can’t function properly if one part won’t acknowledge other parts!

It’s not like I had some blinding flash and figured this all out in an instant.  Oh, no.  It’s taken me a whole year to begin to figure it out.

In January, I hung out with people for the first time.  I say “people” because before 2009, I knew fewer than half-a-dozen humans I would actually have called “friends” – and all of them were girls.  Oh, and you read that right.  I hung out with other people (outside my family) for the first time in January of this year.  Yup.  And you know something?  There were single guys in that group of people who hung out.  And we had fun. (!!)

In February, I saw some of the people I’d hung out with in January at a retreat.  We hung out afterward – until after midnight.  I couldn’t believe how much fun I’d had.  If I’m not working, I prefer to be asleep by 9pm.  And there I was, enjoying myself (despite a nasty head cold!) well past my bedtime – and with other people!!  Miracles never cease.

In May, a sister and I were invited to a party.  And I actually wanted to go – I would (gasp!) know a few of the people there, and that would make meeting new people not so difficult.  There were two “firsts” involved with this – 1) being invited to a party as an individual (vs. as a part of my family), and 2) I wanted to go.  So my sister and I went, and we had fun.  And now I was beginning to call people (even a guy or two!) “friends” and not just “people” anymore. :-)

So it went, the whole year.

Last night I was at church for a wonderful service of Lessons and Carols (our church does Christmas Eve twice, and it’s standing-room-only both the 23rd and the 24th).  A lot of my friends were there. :-)  I realized after I left that I’m a really different person from who I was last year – at least socially I’m really different. :-)  I’ve always loved saying hi to people I know after church.  But last night I did more than say hello.  I was part of a big group that hung around and talked for an hour (a whole hour!) after the service finished.  And that was one of the best Christmas presents ever!

Back to the brother thing.  This year could have been like any other year – family, church, and work.  When I hung out for the first time in January, I knew two people – my sister and a guy I’d met at a medical missions conference.  He qualifies as my first (and probably best) “new” brother.  At the retreat in February, I knew five people – my sister, a friend I’d known since 6th grade, my “brother,” and two others he’d introduced us to in January.  The group of people I knew and began to call “friends” kept growing.  Next month, I’ll be hanging out with a group similar to that first “hang out” almost a year ago – only I’ll probably know most of them this time. :-)  2009, then, has been the year of family&friends, church, and work.

Brothers make all the difference in the world.

Thanks, guys!  Merry Christmas!


One Response to “Brothers”

  1. 1 Plans, Proverbs, and Scary Stuff « musings along the way

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