Today is a Sunday and the 93rd day for my brother John.
About three months ago I got a call from my brother — the third of the four McGauley boys — telling me that his doctor had given him four months to live. He was in the Saint Cloud hospital at the time. Since then we have talked daily. Talked and talked about everything imaginable. Over these months I have come to know my brother in ways that I never imagined. I knew that he lived on the ‘wild side’ of life for many years. By that I mean he was a biker, used and sold drugs, had been busted several times, did time in jail, been married and divorced . . . and been reunited with a son he had never met before. Any one of his many episodes in life would make for an interesting, and sometimes tragic, story. And, as an author, I live for story lines.
What has surprised me the most about John’s life so far, is his love of the Bible. I wouldn’t say that he has become a Biblical scholar by any means, but the ‘Good Book’ has been a significant part of his life for the past twelve years. I might add that his interest has brought me back to reading the Bible as well — Psalms, Hebrews, and Revelations have given us both many important insights to discuss. Mix into the Scriptures our mutual interest in the current affairs of the United States and the world. An interesting topic for us has been ‘How close have we become to the ‘end times’? Bear in mind that the key word in the above sentence is ‘interesting’ — not that they are upon us.
I believe that irony is a writer’s best friend. The irony of our rediscovering of each other is that I was well into a new novel. Some of the events in John’s life were given to my main character, a man named Joseph. Not that my brother and Joseph have lived similar lives, but rather both have been sharing their life with me at the same time. John’s earliest memory from childhood was his mom’s giving him an ice cream cone. He can’t recall how old he was at the time, but my story begins with Joseph’s first memory in life. I borrowed that experience from John. And a few others as well. I’ve always believed that a writer is the thief of any he/she finds in life.
Like all of us, John will die one day sooner than later. This morning he was in strong voice as we talked about the U.S. and China, our penchant for believing what the media says about this topic and everything else, and where we can find the truth. John is more left, and I am more right, which more often than not, adds an ingredient to our conversations. The important thing is that we can discuss our differences. I mean that the truth is always somewhere in-between perspectives.
In these days, weeks, and now months, I have fallen in love with a brother that I knew . . . but didn’t really know. Does that make sense? I’d encourage anybody that reads this post to connect with someone they should be loving but haven’t taken the time to do so. And, I’d recommend reading the Bible.
God bless . . .