Monday, August 10, 2009

A Change Is Gonna Come

When David and I were in the beginning stages of our engagement, we had decided that we needed to live with my mom for the first year or so of our marriage. This prospect wasn't so appealing to us in any aspect besides being given the opportunity to save some money to buy a nice house someday. With some of our friends telling us we've made a wise choice, and some of our friends saying we're gonna miss out on having a place to call our own right after we tie the knot, we couldn't help but agree with both notions. Suddenly we have been abruptly faced with the prospect of having the best of both worlds. 

My dear, sweet older brother, Steve, has decided (after a year of much thought) that he would like to move in with my mom and let David and I move into his condo. Steve is a person who has suffered in some way or another his entire life. He is intelligent in ways none of us ever understood, has a sense of humor as innocent and blunt as the two can coincide, with a laugh more contagious than any I ever heard or will ever hear, he is a mighty prayer warrior who seems to always know exactly what words will shake you to the core, and he has a heart as enormous and luminous as a full moon.

In 40 years of life he has never fully been understood, has been teased and tortured, tested, medicated, mistreated, misdiagnosed, locked away, broken and most of all, lonely. I have seen him punch holes into walls, threaten lives in anger, and broken furniture, but I have also seen him give selflessly and lovingly without expectation of a scrap in return, love unconditionally and put so many others before him countless times. His condition has puzzled and stumped doctors, teachers and counselors, as well as those of us who have lived with his condition all these years. But no one has lived with 'his condition' quite like Stephen has himself. 

Roughly three or four years ago he had a psychotic break, has since been diagnosed schizophrenic and is now heavily medicated. He has lived alone for the past seven years and the loneliness has been plaguing him even more than ever. In the past few months his mental health has declined rapidly and the family has (very recently) decided that a change needs to come. This change has become effective immediately and beginning tomorrow, I will be packing away some things to be moved to his condo.

Although David and I are very happy and relieved to be able to have a place of our own for as long as it takes us to save enough money to buy our own home, we are both saddened by the circumstances that have afforded us this unbelievable opportunity. It is a very bittersweet feeling for me, knowing that Steve is doing this for us because he genuinely wants to and knowing that there are so few people in this world who would be willing to do that. I've always known that my big brother is like no one else on earth and this act of love and service has proven me right once again.

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