I think perhaps a little more explanation is in order. I have received a couple letters asking me if perhaps my feelings are based more on jealousy then anything else.
Thats an interesting question. One that I think may have been yes at first but not so much anymore. Yes at first I think it would be fun to act out, but then I see the results.
The more and more the years pass I see how more and more he is unhappy with things. he makes a ton more money them me. But its all in an effect to be happy. Going from one religion or philosophy to the next. His house looks like a shrine to every no Christian faith out there and never really finding what he had once. I also have noticed something. My family while very argumentative is largely accepting. He has been able to bring his "roommate" home for dinner at times. Its not that he isn't "accepted" its that he is trying to be unaccepted so he can have something to be upset about.
When we have dinner it is normally him who baits conversations to try to start conflict. We are all trying hard to get along and we smile at his comments and change the subject but he continues to push buttons until someone gets upset and flairs up. Its not normally one of us who does it or provokes it. I have actually met some of his ex's who have asked me why in some ways we are so similar but the spirit about us is different. That I don't seem to have this vindictive streak and all I can say is that while I struggle I'm not bitter.
The worst thing in the world is to be bitter about not having anything to really be bitter about. I like to think of it as the "Poor Upper Middle Class White Boy Syndrome, the activitist of the month club." He is largely accepted by everyone in my ward, when he comes, yes they think what he is doing is wrong, but no one has ever turned their back on him. He has home teachers in his ward and they visit him and he is being fellowshipped. He is welcomed.
I do love him. I do feel sorry for him. He is still my brother. I can't say that I would ever really choose to be his friend if I met him socially and we weren't related. But I think I would try. It is hard to be friends with someone who is always trying to "out" you or attack the Gospel you hold dear. It doesn't feel good when you are constantly called a blind sheep.
To wrap both of these items up into one and to thank Kam for the love and concern he has expressed in his heartfelt post let me just say this. Thank you.
Finally, there are many good and wonderful things in this world. There are many good and wonderful situations we can place ourselves in. There are also many good and wonderful people we can try to associate and be friends with. We also have our families and wards and such. A lot of this is what we bring into these situations, friendships and environments. A lot of what we take out of them has to do with what we are willing to invest in them.
And yes there are places that the spirit doesn't dwell and we should avoid and people who will drag us down who we should also avoid. But in all cases we should always be willing to love. Sometimes we need to look deeper into their motivation. Is it perhaps pain that is causing it and will loving them help? Last week in priesthood someone pointed out the difference between being friendly and being a friend. You can go to church and have everyone be friendly and still leave lonely. Sometimes we need to leave our groups, make room for one more and actually be a friend.
People often quote the KJV of the Bible in saying we shouldn't judge, I think we need to sometimes. The JST clarifies this in saying we should never condemn. We do need to judge what is best for us. Is this selfish? I do think sometimes we confuse selfishness with looking out for what is best for ourselves. We need to do this. Its imperative for our own emotional health. If we don't do this we can never really help others. We need to be okay with ourselves and our feelings before we can ever try to help another person do the same. Sometimes and I'll admit maybe in the case of me and my brother, I see too much of myself in him to want to reach out because its painful. And yes I need to get past that.