On the High Road

My older brother has always been there for me. He’s always had my best interest at heart. It’s not surprising then, that he’s my hero. Heroes are not necessarily super-human like Marvel Comics lead us to believe. Rather, they are super-in-touch with the human spirit and they rouse us to be the best version of ourselves. Initially, they believe in us more than we believe in ourselves, which incites us to try, trust, and believe enough to fully receive and release the greatness that is within us! The courage that comes from such inspiration is powerful, isn’t it?!

My older brother is a good man. No, he’s not perfect – none of us are, but he’s a good man. My definition of a good man is someone who more often than not stands up for and defends others, works hard, helps others whenever he can, and has the heart of a servant-leader-teacher-coach-warrior-defender! Do you l like my new compound word I just made up? He’s also kind, loving, encouraging, supportive, and loves unconditionally. To put it in Marvel Comics words: he’s like all the super-heroes combined in one man and heart!

Well, my older brother never ceases to amaze me. He has been going through a heart-breaking, challenging season. Lies and deception have been used to turn those whom he loves with all of his heart against him.   His enemies hate that he is even breathing air. I’m serious.

I have gotten so angry about the attacks against him that I have said some pretty nasty things (about his enemies). I’m more prone to aggression than passiveness. I can truly relate with Peter in the Bible who was prone to be reactive and “just cut off the ears” of his enemies…. So, I’ve honestly, wanted to go for their jugulars! (which is essentially how his enemies feel about and have acted towards him). So, initially, I was not a good role-model for my brother. Even though I’m a clinical psychologist, i.e., “an expert in human behavior”…. Um, well, let’s just say, I’ve had a very, very, very non-professional-human-behavioral response. But don’t worry, I haven’t acted on it. I’m just being honest with you all right now. His enemies, however, have acted upon their nastiness.

Well, leave it to my Big Bro to continue to be an amazing role-model to me. I was talking to him the other night on the phone and he said the following:

“You know, Sis, I started to think some really horrible things about them, but doing so really tempted me to hate, and the more I thought about it all, the angrier I got…. And then I started thinking….  This isn’t me; I’m better than this. I told myself from the very beginning that I was going to take the High Road. I have to stick to the High Road because no matter what they say or do, I refuse to allow them to tempt me and convince me to stoop to their level. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to lay my head down at night because I’m not THAT kind of person, and I refuse to think and act like them (and the person they are trying to convince others that I am). Sis, I truly believe in karma. I believe that whatever they try to do to me will ultimately end up on their own heads. In fact, the more they keep acting hateful, the more evidence they provide about their quality of character or lack thereof, and I believe that people who know Truth can see right through it. So, I’m going to continue to stick to the High Road.”

He told me that when he disciplined his mind to stick to the High Road (no matter how tempting it was to take a detour into focusing on all the horrible facts, injustices and all of the intense emotions about the injustices), he felt a huge sense of peace and relief within himself. Sure, the horrible circumstances and people still existed out there, but within himself, he had peace because he knows who he is and Whose he is. As a result, he has the intestinal fortitude to stand firmly upon the High Road. For two kids who endured a hellish childhood together, we both came to know God. To us, He is our Father, and He is Love (1 John 4:6). And Love, well, as the 13th Chapter of Corinthians teaches, Love is better understood in the following:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

To sum it up, a hero is someone who takes the High Road. And, they take the High Road, not because they “feel” like loving all the time, but because they chose to ACT in Love, fighting their urge to defend themselves and get revenge. And they do this because, ultimately, they are thinking not only of themselves but of the people Whom they love…Whom will be negatively impacted if they take a detour off of the High Road. A hero is someone who can look at the minutia that goes on in the many, many pieces of moments and minutes right before him but who can also see the many puzzle pieces as if they are already put together within, around, and before him. And when he does, he chooses to act in Love rather than the irrational anxiety that fuels hate.

I hate what he is enduring right now, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE how he is choosing to respond in Love….On the The High Road.

God’s got your 360, Bro – and so do I!