Scanning an old photo album, my eyes lingered on a picture of my younger brother, Bob, feeding a squirrel. He was eleven, I was twenty-two. Bob spent a wonderful week with me in Los Angeles. One night I had a small group of girlfriends over. This good-looking kid brother of mine flirted shamelessly with all these pretty girls, and they loved it! Every night Bob and I prayed together before going to sleep, and I was touched by the depth of his conversations with God.
We spent a few days in Yosemite, where Bob hand-fed that squirrel. Dad had given Bob some money to take me out to dinner one night. We dressed up and my handsome, blond little bro pulled out the chair to seat me. People around us stared, amazed at the sight of an eleven-year old with such manners. Later, Bob paid the bill. I felt treasured, he felt tall.
Bob is now a father and grandfather. I love watching him interact with his four children, three daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He is patient, kind, and willing to tackle difficult conversations.
One night we were at their house. Bob, who was an active duty police officer at the time, told us about a dangerous incident that occurred that day. Before he told us the story, this Dad covered his four-year old daughter’s ears. After he removed his hands, she looked up at him. “Why did you cover my ears so I couldn’t hear?” she asked. “Because you’re my precious, sweet girl and it’s my job to keep you that way.”
This younger brother of mine went through some difficult times. But he grew into a respected man of God who gives to others in a myriad of ways. Bob is involved with his family, others in Bible study, caring friendships, ministering in practical ways to the needs of the community, and serving in his church.
When my first husband was ill and subsequently passed away, Bob visited us several times although we were on the other side of the country. One day he sent me back to my temporary housing to take a much-needed nap. About two hours later I returned. Walking quietly into Jerry’s hospital room, I saw that he was resting, his eyes closed. Bob sat by Jerry’s side, holding his hand and reading. Since Jerry couldn’t speak at that point, touch was even more important to him. When I told Bob how much that picture of his love for his brother-in-law meant to me, he said, “Don’t tell anyone. It’ll ruin my tough guy image.”
Tough guy, yes. He’s dealt with homicide, crime, and threats. But his heart is soft toward God, his family, and others. I am deeply grateful for this kid brother who has become a husband, father, brother, son, whom I respect, love, and trust.
Happy Father’s Day, Bob!