It's morning and I debated staying in bed to avoid the inevitable: an empty house. Not that I don't enjoy being alone, but today, the first day my brother wasn't around after a month, seemed so painfully quiet and sad. I did get up, and push aside thoughts with laundry and cleaning, but... I seem to get headaches when I stuff emotions or stress. Quite severe headaches, which I find interesting. A physical rebellion against an unhealthy practice of emotion-stuffing... It seems today even Sweden is mourning his departure -- after over a week of solid 20-30 degree days and sunshine, the clouds cover and the insects come out to feast.
I suppose most siblings love one another, more or less, in that inexplicable relationship of siblinghood. Jordan and I must be on the more side, because even after a month of hanging about one another almost every waking minute, I wasn't ready to say goodbye. (It's possible he was but I didn't ask.) As we've worked together on the deck, relaxed, conversed, cooked and laughed often, I have felt the burden of time, marching continually towards the goodbye at the Nassjö train station. This goodbye -- moreso than the last, when we were heading off to Sweden with the future before us -- felt so... permanent. A spoonful of the medicine I chose to drink, inevitable goodbyes. I thought about culture shock, I thought about homesickness and missing family and friends, I thought about long distances and expensive travel, but I never thought of how it will be to say goodbye again and again, with a finality of not knowing when we will see one another, that life will continue on different parts of the world separately.
But how grateful am I to share life together for a month. To see my familial ties and shared characteristics in a new way. Even to simply physically look like someone! Having him here was some moments like having a host of others here as well. His strong Slavic features so like mine, his stand-up hair like Uncle Tim's, the crinkles around his eyes when he smiles, so like our mother. How he spoke and gave instructions so like our father. And in all of that he is completely his own, which is wonderful and fascinating. How we carry the traits of our parents and grandparents and remain completely individual is really quite remarkable.
I have thought of my mother in the past weeks, how grieved she was to say goodbye the last, in the sterile airport hallway, as we wept before the voyeurism of other travelers queuing for security. I had the youthful naivete of adventure and future to buoy me. She knew something deeper, more significant was taking place than I had yet to understand and am just now realizing...
Things can't simply be undone or redone as we fancy. And we know this, but live subconsciously as it's possible, that if I should need to reverse my decision to move and return to the good of things as they once were, I could. (But not sacrificing the good of things as they are now, or lessons learned, or treasures appreciated.)
In the last weeks I came to a moment of clarity. All the change and uncertainty we experience, not just beginning uncertainty, getting all you thought you dreamt of, but end uncertainty; the hopelessness of the weakness, limitation, and shortness of human life, getting old, getting poor, getting lonely, disappointed or heartbroken. In that, the only consistent goodness, the only unchangingness is God. Always the same in character and in relationship. Not impeded by time or distance. Always the I am. I am past, I am future, I am present. This is hope and solace.