"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian." Dennis Wholey
"Why are you going to Haiti?" Rick asked Spencer, who was deciding which shirts to put in his pack.
"Because." Spence just wanted Rick to leave him alone. After the divorce, three years ago, money was tight for Spence, so when Rick asked him to move in with him, he did. Now, he was ready to move and live on his own again. Living with a family member can do that to you, although he loved his brother, he just couldn't live with him anymore.
"After Haiti, I'll look into apartments." He thought as he packed some underwear into his bag.
"Are you going to marry Mags?" Rick teased as only an older brother can. Rick is a confirmed bachelor, has been all his life, never married, never wanted to, and perhaps never will. There were times in the past, when Spence wished he had Rick's life. To trade it all in even for a day. No obligations other then, work and a mortgage payment on a 10 acre property just outside of Calgary.
"She wouldn't marry me anyway," Spence replied, "even if I asked."
"So you do love her enough to marry?"
"I don't know." He rubbed at his forehead, his headache was coming back again. Time for some more Tylenol, he realized it had been 6 hours since he had his last pill. His headaches were getting worse and he's had more migraines as well in the last 3 years. His doctor told him it was all related to stress.
"Why won't she marry you?" Rick lounged on Spence's bed, and folded his arms beneath his head.
"I'm not Christian."
"If you love her enough... lie... tell her you are."
"You're sick.... I'm not going to lie."
"This guy at work, one of my mechanics, he told his wife he was a Muslim... even though he doesn't believe in God...they got married and have 3 kids." Rick said.
"Oh... they must have a secure and deep relationship?"
"Why would you want deep?"
"I'm not basing any relationships on the foundation of lies.... been there... done that!" and he grabbed his Teva sandals and threw them into his gear.
"Why would you want to get married anyway? When you can have your chicks for free?" Rick laughed. "I wouldn't want a woman living with me.... Nobody telling you what to do, nobody nagging you constantly, saying things like, 'turn the TV off'....'Clean up the shed!'....'Mow the lawn,' Rick whined in a high pitched voice.
"I'll mow the lawn when I want to mow the lawn!" he continued, " 'You've left the toilet seat up!'..... Oh sorry, I get that now living with my younger brother," he threw a pillow at Spence.
"You are so immature!" Spence threw the pillow onto the floor beside the bed.
"'Lighten' up Spence. You take life way too seriously." Rick got up from the bed and sauntered towards the door, "Life is what you make of it... You only live once... that's why I am in constant party mode," and with that he left.
Spencer felt empty. He felt there was more to life then one party after another. There had to be more to life than this.
"Nobody around who loves you no matter what.... nobody to love and give your heart to.... nobody to grow old with." loneliness blasted explosively into his soul, deeper than any miner could drill, as he made his way to the medicine cabinet to find repose.
"Have another butter tart Spencer." Aunt Bea handed Spence another sweet tart, then passed the plate to Rick, "You too Ricky."
Spence decided to surprise his Mom and Dad and take them out to dinner, before he left for a 2 week missions trip to Haiti with Maggie. Rick, mooch that he was, tagged along. The surprise was on him though, Aunt Bea and her friend Pauline were over baking for a bake sale at church this up coming weekend.
"I won't have enough room for the steak I plan to eat soon." Rick patted his beer belly and declined the tart. The boys were just finishing off their coffee and tarts, before they whisked their Dad away to The Keg and saved him from the ladies prattle.
"Like I was saying, Sue."Pauline turned to Spencer's mother, "after Dan passed away, my son and daughter bought tickets to Kauai..."
"What? To party?" The room fell silent and all eyes turned to Rick. Pauline's eyes glistened with tears and with the grace of a high class lady, she turned back to Sue and continued her story, ignoring the insensitivity of Rick's comment.
"You are such an ass!" Spence shook his head at Rick. The three guys were waiting for their steak dinners to arrive.
"What?" Rick questioned, "Some women are happy when their husbands pass away." Spence could see from Rick's reaction that he really didn't get what he said was wrong.
"Most husbands are happy when their wives die before them." Rick continued laughing.
"Pauline wasn't happy." His dad snapped. Spence saw disappointment in his father's eyes as he spoke to his eldest son. His father was a man of few words and when he spoke his boy's knew to listen, there were consequences when you didn't.
"Dan was an amazing Husband, father and friend.... He loved his wife as God intended... with respect and loving forgiveness... He would have died for her.... as she for him." then he took a deep breath and thought about what he needed to say next. That's what Spence wanted, he wanted that kind of relationship with someone. Deep within his soul he knew that was what a relationship with a woman was all about.
"Men and women get married for all the wrong reasons in this day and age." He thought to himself.
"Dan talked about taking Pauline to Kauai for decades... it was where they first met."
"Why didn't they go?"
"The money always went to something else."
"What a new car?" Rick interjected sarcastically. "If the will was there they would have gone."
"The will was there, my son... but they gave the money away lovingly to those who needed it more. They made sacrifices to help their family and friends."
"Well, that's the choice they made." Rick shrugged.
"You just don't get it?" His father's eyes shone with tears, "You don't even know how many people they have helped over the years? Hundreds...How many have you helped Rick?"
"I help hundreds! I fix their cars."
"Do you charge them?"
"What Money? Yes of course... I can't do it for free... that's stupid!"
"Yes, Rick... you need to make a living... I'm talking about doing something nice for people and not charging or expecting them to do something nice for you. I'm talking about getting to know someone and loving them enough so you don't make stupid comments like you did to Pauline this evening. What have you boy's done for someone else just because it was right and you knew there was nothing in it for you? No expectations." There was silence and Spence wished for the waiter to show up for dinner, anything to relieve the stress from this conversation.
"To do Evil for good is the enemy's way, to do good for good is man's way, to do good for evil is God's way." then he took a deep breath, "I know, your mother and I have made mistakes in the past. I'm sorry for that. Those mistakes cost us the wisdom and happiness of our son's lives. For that I am so sorry, forgive me." and with that he put his hands over his face and unashamedly wept.
"For crying out dad," Rick whispered, "stop that! We're in a restaurant." then he looked away from his father, pretending that nothing was wrong.
"It's alright dad." Spencer was sitting beside his father in the booth, he scowled at his brother sitting across from him as he put an arm around his dad.
"If I had known it was going to turn all emotional, I would have stayed home." Rick slumped down in his chair to avoid embarrassment.
"It's okay." Spence tried again, this time he kicked Rick under the table. Rick sat up and rolled his eyes as Spencer continued to console his dad. A glass smashed on the tile floor just behind them, and his father sat up straight, wiped the left over tears on a serviette and took a sip of his coffee.
"It's not okay, Spencer... but God will make it okay and I have faith that he will take my mistakes and make it okay." He looked past Rick, searching for something, "Now where the heck is my steak... I'm famished." In that instant Spence knew his dad just laid that conversation to rest. Perhaps. it will come up again in another time, when his dad would be ready to share, but most likely Spence knew it would be when Rick and him were ready to hear.
"When you talk, do not say harmful things. But say what people need-words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will help those who listen to you." Ephesians 4:29
It's all about helping one another. Being there when your brother or sister needs you. Follow what God puts in your heart.