I am the youngest and the only girl in my family. I have always looked up to my older brothers, and to this day continue to admire them. Their influence in my life is eternal–they have loved me unconditionally, protected me consistently, and taught me many things. Growing up with them was never boring, through the ups and downs of childhood there was always laughter and unity in our home. I decided to pick on my oldest brother first, to share with you how profound his influence was, and is, on my life. Profound, and unbelievable.
When I was five years old, I was asked to join an elite and exclusive martial arts class. Ne-tun, he called it. He was the leader, the master, and the expert. All the neighborhood kids gathered in our living room and did everything he said, practicing high kicks and forward rolls that without a doubt would be the key to our survival one day. We were all mesmerized by his intricate knowledge of the ancient form of self-defense. Too mesmerized, apparently, to realize he never actually did any of the moves himself.
In Argentina, every business has a business card with a calendar on the back, the store’s information, and a picture of a waterfall or kitten or something like that. He convinced me that it was of utmost importance to collect these treasures, and to this day I own an incredible amount of Argentinian business cards from the 80′s. I asked for one every time I entered a store, knowing that I would someday be asked to present my collection before the president, and I would be ready.
Another thing we collected (and by “we” I mean his idea, my doing) is the little stickers that come on fruit. He could tell me which ones were worth a lot, rarity and color combinations being the key to value. If we found one with “Argentina” written on it, we put it on the side of the refrigerator. My mom would throw them away. I hate to admit that this went on way past the age that I knew better.
When I was about ten years old, he took me to Wal-Mart to buy a hamster. Did I want a hamster or did he? I don’t even know. All I know is that two days after we brought the hamster home, it gave birth to like thirteen pink, ugly babies. I cannot bring myself to write about the fate of those hamsters, but he knows. And he knows it was his idea.
Another… yes, another, thing we collected was quotes. We had a box that we put super cool quotes in–sayings like “Life is hard. Pray harder,” and “Love is like a box. You only get out what you put in.” It was a box full of heart-wrenching treasures, full of wisdom, and in my eyes, he possessed most of it.
Unbelievable, I tell you. But the way that my brother has invested in my life is also unbelievable. All childhood silliness aside, his influence in my life has been God’s grace toward me. One of the most important things that I have learned from my brother, as an adult sister, is that this influence that he has… it’s a gift. I have learned that God makes us who we are with a purpose and a specific plan to bring glory to His own name. My brother lives out the things that many of us just talk about–he loves the lost, serves his family, shares the Gospel, prays with faith, and gives generously. And in using this gift, I have seen many lives around him changed. I was probably one of the first lives to change because of his influence. I may have an irrational need to peel stickers off fruit and an aversion to hamsters, but I also have a brother who is an amazing example and friend.