Archives for posts with tag: faith

20130629-233302.jpg
This painting has little to do with what I’m about to write it is simply one of my favorites

The house is the same as many would imagine a Midwest farm house to be, with it’s wrap around porch, shutters and standard off white paint. A wooden screen door gently taps frame in rhythm with the breeze. The two stories give a deceiving appearance that the structure may contain more than two bedrooms but in fact it does not. Roof covered in gray shingles, sloped to a pitch designed with the idea of discouraging snow from accumulating, gaining weight and collapsing inward, protects the inside from nature. Traditional style curtains can clearly be seen through windows on both floors, indicating the proprietors understanding of roots and willingness to stay with what works.

Infront of the house a large split pasture is seperated from gravel drive and small front yard by white wooden fence. The fence has a stoutness suggesting it is not merely a cosmetic structure but one of function as well. Grass in the yard is clipped much closer to ground than that of the pastures. Amongst this manicured lawn is a lone tree, the sort that stands tall and twisted informing anyone who looks upon it, that it has stood through many seasons and generations in this very spot. A rope plank swing hangs from one of the larger branches, the platforms worn wooden bench, displays years of fun and joy. Off behind the house in a somewhat typical fashion is a red barn, trimmed in the same white as the place of residence. Connected off the right hand side is another pasture, where seven horses can be seen grazing. The enclosing allows animals to freely enter their stalls for water or rest from weather at will. On closer examination large sliding doors can be seen, they can be closed at night containing the beautiful horses safely in thier respective stalls.

Upon entering the home the scent of linseed oil, varnish, and various other smells of oil painting fills the air. These aromas are often accompanied by gentle music softly playing in the background or the clear melody of someone playing live accusticly. Wooden floor, showing care taken to preserve, yet the undeniable pattern that years of those who live here coming and going, leads to a staircase. From staircases bottom both kitchen and family room can be viewed depending on which direction one is looking. An open family room with sofa, end tables holding matching lamps, two chairs and a long wooden record player stereo are the main furnishings, besides a desk in one corner. The desk has feathers, furs, a vise and other items used for the tying of flies, intended to at some later date entice a trout to rise. Beside it is an easel with a painting in progress tenderly perched upon the stained wood, which clearly shows its use. A television is the only furnishing which seems out of place hanging on the far wall in a position guaranteeing that in order to be viewed the chairs must be repositioned. Of course on nights when hockey is being played they are infact turned to face the lone modern device in the room.

Breathing deeply I take in all that is the home of my childhood and all besides nine months of my years on this Earth. Tomorrow evening I will walk from what is now Brooke’s bedroom down these stairs and out the door. Mom will hug me tightly on the porch, we all spend so much time on. She will hand me some extra cash whispering to not tell my father. Brooke will be waiting in the back seat when I climb into the front one next to Dad. I will turn to talk to Brooke as we pull away, in order to see the place I call home and mostly to watch Mom standing on the wooden porch. In a few hours drive time my things will for the second time be carried into a dorm room by my father. He will hand me some cash instructing me not to tell Mom. Brooke and I will hug and kiss goodbye, without words spoken between us. As Dad and Brookelyn get into vehicle I will say mostly to keep myself from crying, “I’ll be home for Thanksgiving!”

-Brooke’s Sister

I felt compelled to add that I am excited about going back to school! I’m also grateful to be going back early, because my early return means I have kept my athletics scholarship and will be returning for the sport, long before classes begin. Yet, it’s all quite bittersweet.

20130619-115428.jpg
These blog posts have not directly mentioned faith or our families belief system. When I wrote about young Brooke’s quest for forgiveness, purposefully I did not mention it was God she asked for it. There is no shame in our belief, nor do I deny the faith we have, it is more that this blog is not about debatable topics, or creating gaps between us and the world. The blog is simply to find and share Brooke’s voice.

In order to hold true to purpose, self and Brooke what I’m about to tell must be included. Be warned if you venture to read more of this post it is possible you may be offended, though I’m not asking you to believe or think anything. This is just an offer of how Brooke and now I see things. While Brookelyn and I are quite open minded and respect others beliefs this post is about Brooke’s. If you decide to read on I welcome any views and opinions.

The sound of the shower awakens anyone in the bed that is on the wall in Brooke and mines room that keeps our sleeping space separate from the bathroom. That is exactly why my bed is located where it is, an alarm clock that is minus the bells or chimes that tend to frustrate me. Opening my eyes, the first glimpse of sunlight is peering beneath the window coverings. Brooke’s bed is already empty, sheets neatly tucked, blanket smoothed and single pillow placed on top. Why she makes her bed the moment she steps out of it is as mysterious to me as the manner in which it’s done, pillow always uncovered. Brookelyn’s love for new days beginning is another source of pondering. This response to mornings much like a birds flight of migration, is just natural for the younger sister.

Before I have exited my bed Brooke is in the doorway brushing out hair that still drips, leaving spots on the floor. A white dress covers her delicate frame, showing areas of dampness that she felt no compulsion to completely dry. No matter how many times I talk to her about drying off, like getting up early, Brooke has her way. In this case it is to somewhat drip dry. This is a curious choice, almost at odds with her tidy neatness in most other matters.

In the backseat, with our bellies full of oatmeal, my voice tells Brooke about the cute boy that just joined my class in school. She listens watching the fields of our neighbors pass by as we make our way towards church. Brooke always seems to be at her happiest but a little dreamy on church mornings. It’s the only time she does not carry a tablet and pen. Rarely does she sign anything but mostly she simply smiles in her silence, owning it in a way that is almost honoring the quiet.

Exiting church, the day has warmed and promises afternoon adventures, maybe a horse back ride or something just as exciting. On the way home we stop off, Mom needs an item to complete Sunday dinner, the meal of the week we almost always share with guests. Brooke and I wonder the isles of the market, containing sweets. The new boy from class to my surprise stands at the end of the isle. Blue jeans and a t-shirt cover his athletic frame, the sort that promises he is adept at putting a ball in a hoop or running down a fly in the field. Unlike my nature I offer only a shy wave. My gesture is met with a greeting as he approaches us.

He acts surprised that I have a younger sister and blunders with words when I explain she isn’t being shy or rude but instead that Brooke is mute. I can tell that he is full of questions but then he awkwardly suggests a phrase like, “that’s cool”. Leading to an even greater awkward silence, after all it isn’t really cool. Brokkelyn, use to these encounters changes the subject with a smile and by signing to me that it is in fact cool. I vocally translate the signed words and as kids do in certain moments we genuinely laugh with no need for humor. Our new friend steps back, he is surprised that her laugh is silent as well. In his defense at times even I am startled by this. Quickly I explain she is inaudible, unable to make vocal sounds, adding that it’s not a hearing, mental or social issue.

As comfort enters the encounter he inquires why we are in dresses, the type one may wear to a wedding. My explanation of church leads to a response that I had never imagined.

“Oh, you are those kind of people,” the young man says rolling his eyes.

“What does that mean? Calling us ‘those kind of people’,” I respond with slight contempt in my voice. I’m irritated and in that period of life when I’d fight just as quickly as explain myself.

“Just you believe in the whole God thing, it’s dumb,” he replies.

I’m about to tell him he is dumb and to punch him in the eye when out of nowhere Brooke hugs him and takes my hand leading me towards the exit of the store. She waives over her shoulder with a smile as we exit. Shock has kept me as silent as my sister as we climb in the backseat and wait with Dad for Mom to return.

In the comfort of our home, shock faded and irritation at a max, I tell our parents of the event and rant about the stupid boy, that I’d once crushed on. Mom offers the advice mothers often do, Dad praises Brooke but admits he can’t understand the hug. Brookelyn sits at the small table writing on her yellow tablet. When completed she passes her words to my father who reads them allowed, putting answers to questions that my young mind had yet to even ask.

“I hugged him because I felt sad for him. Not believing in something doesn’t not make it real. Not knowing God would make me sad, so I was worried he was sad and hugs help when you are sad. I didn’t want Sissy to argue with him cause God doesn’t like arguing. Also if you know something to be true you don’t need others to agree with you. You only need others to agree if you aren’t sure and I didn’t want Sissy to not be sure. God loves him and I thought Sissy was going to hit him. I don’t really care about him but God doesn’t like mean things and I didn’t want Sissy to need forgiveness.”

Brooke’s words read, we shared a family moment in her silence before my Dad said, “Well I suppose that sums it all up. If Mom can spare some time from the kitchen I can saddle the horses and we can all enjoy the beautiful day.”

Watching Brooke climb onto the English saddle she insists upon using, it was clear to me that my sisters faith is as unwavering as all her other quirks, like not completely drying off after showers, formal riding saddles for casual rides, beds made crisply with pillows uncovered, interesting somewhat inappropriate headware, and silent Sunday mornings.

-Brooke’s Sister

20130617-144259.jpg
Brooke’s eyes reflect sparkling water, while holding secrets of great things done or about to be done. It’s strange how regardless of what they are set on that Brookelyn’s eyes always seem to show the reflection of a stream. Maybe it’s an abundance of expression, compensation of her silence or her simple uniqueness. Regardless of why they shimmer like a mountain spring, the fact remains they do, giving her the ability to smile with them alone.

My father once told me that he was fascinated by my little sisters artwork, that ability to manipulate paper and ink or graphite. This was some time before she turned to pastels, watercolors, oils, chalk and charcoal. Now we all are captured by the creations of her hands. Possibly our amazement comes in part because she is the only one in the family with talent for such things. I don’t believe that’s entirely it, nor is it that she is talented. The admiration and astonishment of Brooke’s art is mostly do to her casualness about the work. She will give them away, paint over fine works and when praised, simply smile.

She truly believes her talent is just practice, comparing it to the likes of learning a song on guitar, casting a fly-line, ice skating, tying flies or riding a horse. Each of these too can be an art form. So of course I can see the resemblance. It’s not that she is not grateful for her talents. Brooke is completely aware of her gifts, humbly giving credit to almost anyone besides herself. The one exception is she will acknowledge the hours spent perfecting everything she does. Though again she sees it not as anything other than doing what comes natural.

Across the room Dad stands behind Brooke watching her apply oil to canvas. She is currently working on one of two paintings in progress on the twin easels in the corner of our family room, that sit next to the oak table where flies are tied. Two paintings are almost always in progress, allowing for work to be done on one if the linseed oils of the other require time to dry. Plus there are the sketches, pastel works and charcoal drawings that lay scattered across what once was our bedroom but now feels more like Brooke’s alone. I assure you this doesn’t bother me, it’s part of growing up and the art is so beautiful I wouldn’t care even if all my time was spent here.

Brooke looking over her shoulder at Dad smiles pausing for a moment before returning to her piece. During this moment it occurs to me that what I’ve thought was a reflection of running water in her eyes is in fact love. Love so strong and powerful that it can be seen. Love so amazing that it pours out into everything she attempts. Love beyond words spoken by poets or told by play writes from long ago. There is so much love within her that Brookelyn’s small frame and stature can not contain it, resulting in this love overflowing from every aspect of her. This love fills the room, the sights and hearts of everyone she encounters. Leaving me today with a thought. Somewhere out there, a boy who doesn’t yet know it, will someday look into the rivers of my sisters eyes and without saying or hearing a word become the luckiest man to have ever lived.

-Brooke’s Sister