Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous. —(1 Peter 3:8)

MY BROTHER and I don’t always get along. Despite having only a four-year gap, it often seems that we live in different worlds. He likes to play pranks on people as much as I like to cheer people up. He is as happy-go-lucky as I am responsible. This, not surprisingly, causes us to bicker over almost everything. Being the big sister, everybody tells me to understand my brother, or at least try to tolerate him. I do my best not to argue with him, but I succeed in this task less and less every day.

One day, I decided to just ignore him, so that he wouldn’t get on my nerves. I don’t speak to him much anymore, except maybe when I need something from him, or when Mom tells me to call him for dinner.

One Sunday, he and Mom had a discussion. My brother was always out with his friends from noon until late at night, and Mom, exasperated, told him that he should come home on time, or he should just leave altogether. And that’s what he just did. He left with nothing but the shirt on his back, and a ratty baseball cap. For the next two weeks, my brother stayed over at his friends’ houses, which made my mother sick with worry. After all, at 15 years old, my brother was still her little boy. Eventually, he went to stay with Dad and our relatives, which lessened her worries. But she still thought about him a lot.

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During the first few days of my brother’s absence, I was actually relieved there’s no one annoying me or arguing with Mom. Later, my relief was replaced with irritation towards my brother. His choice hurt my mother deeply. Couldn’t he swallow his pride and come home? Mother was only trying to make him see the error of his ways, but he didn’t see the lesson.

When I came home from school on the night of my mother’s birthday, I found my brother in our house. From that day on, my brother dropped by our house every day after school. Soon, I found myself not angry with him anymore.

I realized that it is because of our differences that I should understand his choice of leaving home. I thought that instead of staying away from my brother, I should stand by him. He’s confused with the changes going on in his life, and with the choices that he has to make. I may not always understand his ways, but that doesn’t mean I should love him less.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am truly sorry for letting my hurt feelings overwhelm my love for my brother. Please give me the patience and the understanding to stand by him, like the numerous times You had been there for me. And with our love for him, may You help my brother finally find his way home. Amen. Rica May M. Forto

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