Rather bored one night, I decided to call my youngest brother. As humbling as it is to admit, that evening I wasn’t calling so much to see how he was doing, rather, I was calling him because I wanted someone to talk to; I wanted someone to listen to me.
Expecting a short, superficial conversation, I was surprised when he opened up to me and shared with me how he had really been doing. As a 16 year-old boy, it’s not often that my brother shares his heart or the difficulties of his life, but that evening, I was reminded of my need to be relentless in my pursuit of love and friendship.
As we talked, my brother shared with me personal struggles with faith and feelings of loneliness. That worst part was, he told me that he didn’t like talking about it because he felt like he would be burdening me.
There were moments that passed by in silence as he tried to gather his thoughts and express the various emotions that he had been feeling. His words broke my heart. Trying to be strong, I held back my tears and just listened to him share.
When he had finally finished, I reassured him of the humanness of his struggles. He was doing everything right. There are many times when we will feel alone or confused, but we have to share this with others and persevere. The journey of life can be rather dark and bumpy, but there is light at the end.
After I hung up the phone, I reflected on how much I had needed that conversation. I had been so preoccupied with my own needs and anxieties, that I had become consumed with myself. I felt as though interiorly, I was always asking myself such questions as: Why was my life so burdensome? Why weren’t friends reaching out and calling me? What should I do to make myself happy? These questions only left me more confused and empty. But I realized that the reason I had been so distraught was because I had been failing to love.
Hoping that my brother would listen and care for my own worries and frustrations, our conversation showed his need to be cared for and listen to. And in the end, I felt loved simply because he was willing to share with me. His worries were not a burden to me, but rather an opportunity to empathize with another.
That night, a very simple reality check gave me a newfound desire to be relentless about my pursuit of others. I want to call family more often in order to grow with them and find how what their real needs are. In this way, I will become less occupied with myself and more set on loving them in the way that he or she needs to be loved. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but that’s because the secret of real love is that it’s never at rest.