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My Bonus Sibling (well, one of them)

February 6, 2011

My family is awesome.  No really, without bias, we are pretty sweet people.  As I got older I began wishing there were more siblings in my family because I began to enjoy and appreciate my brother and sister more and more.  When my older sister got married a year ago, one of the best things that happened was gaining a brother-in-law.  Although he already felt like part of my family, he was the nice added “bonus” I had been longing for for so many years.

My brother-in-law, whom we will call Jay, is pretty sweet people too.  He’s outgoing, funny, and a really good cook.  He is also a professional athlete.  I remember sitting on the couch of my college dorm room and screaming as he and his team won the collegiate national championship his senior year.  I remember having my eyes glued to the television screen as he was drafted into the pros a year later.  Beginning his professional career was a lifelong dream that brought nothing but the highest of expectations for him and our entire extended family.

By the time he and my sister got married, Jay had realized that holding onto his professional dreams wasn’t going to come without its difficulties.  I personally had a very idealistic vision of what professional sports was like, and quickly realized it can be an uphill battle that most fight hard to achieve.  Jay may not know this, but I watched him closely over the last few years through his many triumphs and challenges of playing in the pros.   He persevered through injuries, coaching changes, and trades.  He took on new leadership roles, ran clinics for kids, and mentored new players as they came onto his team.  There had been many changes, setbacks, encouraging moments, and joys while Jay played professionally, but no matter what came his way I watched him turn each experience into a positive. I observed quite frequently that Jay was intentional about letting every disappointment and success shape him for the better.

I don’t know many people who can do that, or who have that kind of heart.  I don’t know many people who realize that God’s plans aren’t always clear at first, and who have the patience to wait and learn through the process.  I don’t know many people who see each challenge in life as an opportunity to come out with stronger character on the other side.  But then again, I don’t know many people like Jay.

Being an athlete is a huge part of who Jay is, but in my humble opinion, it is the smallest part.  When I think of my brother-in-law, I think of character and personality and optimism.  I think of a guy who is instantly comfortable to be around, who has a special way of reading people, and who is eager to be a part of whatever community he can serve.  I think of his creativity, his candid (yet gentle) nature, and his personal drive.  It is clear these qualities were God-given because God recently provided an opportunity for Jay to use all of those qualities in their fullest capacity.  A job came up for Jay that was just too good to pass up, and he made the decision to leave the professional sports world.  I have no doubt that this new job will continue to grow and shape him because, as I have come to learn, Jay doesn’t allow any experience to leave him untouched.

So for my dear brother-in-law who is off on a new adventure soon, may it be just another place God lets you shine.  May it be just another chance to use your gifts in the fullest ways possible.  May it be just another journey where you teach me by your example that the best way to live, is with purpose and intentional joy.  May you continue to impact others the way you impact me.

We are always rooting for you, no matter where you are.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Caitlin permalink
    February 8, 2011 2:04 pm

    This is EXACTLY how I feel… except I’ve been cheering him on since we were babies. 🙂 What a wonderful man he has become!!

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