Roses from ashes

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That’s me!

The one missing a tooth.

My sister and I are sitting on our big brother.

It was one of our favorite things he would do.

When visiting on leave from the military he’d put on his suit and move the furniture.

Then he’d get down on his hands and knees and say, “Now get a good tight hold.”

I’d climb onto his back and stick my toes into his pockets.

I’d grip the back of his suit like I could hold on forever.

Then I’d laugh and say, “Okay!”

He’d jump and buck till I could hold on no longer.

I’m certain he was doing it carefully as I never got hurt.

Neither did my sister.

We absolutely loved it.

I remember on time my parents opening a package from him and inside was a framed fabric covered in foreign coins.

Another time he was on leave and my mom needed a sitter.

He gladly offered to watch us.

I remember him being in the kitchen trying to make us Campbell’s.

I kept checking on him since I was hungry and yet there wasn’t any soup heating.

Finally, he asked me where the can opener was.

I quickly fished out the only one.

He was puzzled.

“No Hopie, I mean the big can opener. This is a camping one.”

I shook my head and explained it was the only one I knew about.

He was surprised but made us lunch anyway.

I remember him asking my mom about it when she returned.

She explained that it was the only one they had.

It wasn’t long before he bought her a “big” can opener.

These memories are precious to me.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want and as much as I’d like to say I could go on and on with stories about my brother, I can’t.

I never really knew what happened.

Yet my childhood memories are all I have of him.

He cut all ties with everyone.

We have tried to find him.

When my dad was killed in a freak accident we tried.

When news that our sister (my older, his younger) was dieing we tried.

But to no avail.

Yet God was still working.

Recently, my oldest brother received word from our niece.

After battling cancer, our brother had died and she had spent more than a month trying to find him to tell him.

He got in touch with my mom and she contacted me.

I cried.

Pulled it together and called him.

He’s a great guy and I dearly love both him and his wife.

He got me our niece’s phone number and I called.

Since then we are getting to text.

She even helped me get in touch with one of our sister’s sons.

It has been wonderful.

I have praised the Lord for bringing our family back together.

I’m excited to see what He’s going to do next.

The photograph was sent to me in a text by my beautiful niece.

I had told her of my memories of her dad playing with me and my sister.

Her voice became full of emotion and said, “I’ve been going through pictures and found one of my dad with two little girls on his back and I wished I knew who they were.”

Through my tears I responded, “It has to be me and my sister. ”

Days later she sent me another text with a picture.

She asked, “Do you recognize this?”

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“Yes! That’s me.”

How much it blesses my heart to know our brother might not have kept in touch, but he did keep our pictures.

What beautiful roses have been growing from the ashes of missing years!

What an incredible love God has for us!

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