Michael, Ryan, Conor, Meaghan, and Jake have all changed my life in many different and unique ways. Michael, Ryan, Conor, Meaghan, and Jake are my siblings, each one of them constantly teaching me despite the various age gaps between us. Whether it’s just over a year or six years between us, we teach each other, we help and defend each other, we fight and argue, and disagree and come together. Mostly though, we love each other. I believe in the power of love. I believe in the love that resides deep within my family even on our worst days.
Love is something that is taken for granted, battered around and given a distasteful name. Love is stomped on and spit out, mislabeled and disregarded. However, I find it to be so much more than that for I have discovered its true meaning- in all the different shapes and sizes it tends to come in. As the Beatles so appropriately sung, “All you need is love”, this is a true statement – one that represents the one thing that every single person not only wants, but truly needs. This is a direct application to my siblings and I because we have had to rely on love alone to get through tough times that we always faced and continue to face together. Things such as divorce, hospital stays, death, and plain old pain could not break through the bonds of our love.
My parents divorced a few years ago – it was expected, but regardless, the repercussions were catastrophic and they took a very large toll on us physically, mentally and emotionally. Dysfunction never completely enables a healthy surrounding, but all six of us made it out breathing. However, as the damage set in, we were affected in ways that the rest could not understand. One of my brothers was racing down a dangerous path- one that pushed him down further with the help of alcohol. I could not fix him. Another brother became so angry at the world and at God, in turn pushing away everything. I could not fix him either. Another brother became so bogged down with fear, he could not get himself out of it. Again, I could not fix him. My sister became so eager to be someone else, she ran away from herself. I could not fix her. My youngest brother was filled with so much anxiety that every little thing would set him off. I could not fix him.
I have become so preoccupied with others, especially with my family, that I would lose sight of myself. But, I can fix me.
Being powerless over fixing their problems does not take away from the love I hold so tightly for them. I have come to realize that the actual way to help them is to love them. Sometimes, that might be just as hard, but I can do it – it’s a choice I can make for myself and carry out myself.
I believe in the real power of true love.
I believe in the power of love between bonded people.
I believe that my siblings have taught me a valuable lesson on this power and that without them, this dynamic of unconditional love would not hold as true.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.