Where is your brother?

A little brother that’s seven years younger can be a rough gig on a teenager. When that license hit my hands, R was just old enough to start needing intense driving-about. Oh the complaints around the Edwards household! I’m sure this is one worn-out refrain the empty nesters are not missing.

Yet being so far apart in age also makes it difficult to span the gap – no matter how many trips to piano or Boy Scouts or drums.

I left home at 18 and haven’t lived closer than a 13-hour drive from home since (and usually march farther). This means that the last time I lived with my now six-foot-one, 21-year-old sibling was when he was a measly five-foot-three 11-year-old.

Although he means it in the most global sense, Pope Francis’ homily this week made me think of my own little bro.

It can be really difficult to see the humanity in those around us, to really understand their lives, their joy, and their suffering. Even more so to act on their behalf, for their betterment – even if they’re family. I get wrapped up in my life, my issues, my problems, and finally my own efforts to love via long distance communication.

After the effort I extend through my personal circles, sometimes I feel like there’s not much left.

We all share the overwhelming feeling of being bombarded by grand sadness after epic sadness – the plane crash to the bombing to the death to the starvation – that it is just easier to be numb or refuse to admit it’s impact on us.

In fact, “We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business.”

Yet, Francis this week asks of us the exact opposite. The man with the greatest hat asks us to reach beyond. To ask for “the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty in the world, in ourselves, and even in those who anonymously make socio-economic decisions that open the way to tragedies.”

So I should spare the hypothetical “Mooooom!” and just drive the little man.

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