The Shadows of Sorrow

 

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My brother has been in the hospital, he is better and returning to the nursing home today. I have been thinking about J.R. a lot during his hospital stay. I thought back to our childhood.  My brother J.R. was active, hyper, impulsive, and jumped up instantly as some exciting thought entered his mind.  There was no middle ground in his world.  My brother was either on top of the world or down in a deep pit of gloom and despair.

Years ago J.R. was staying with my husband and I to acquire support to go into the missionary fields in another country.  His wife chose to remain at home, in another state, with their three children.  My brother was excited, a letter had arrived from his wife.  As he opened the letter and began to read, the expression of joy turned to disbelief and sorrow.  J.R. passed the letter to me, I found out the reasons he looked so sad.  I sat watching my brother’s face.  I have never seen such devastation reflected on anyone’s features.  I felt his pain, the hopelessness, as his shoulders gradually sank lower into his chest.  His wife was leaving him, his children were disowning him.  They had decided that every family problem and all their unhappiness was my brother’s fault. This time it was not something trivial in my brother’s life, it was something gut wrenching.

I raised my eyes, looked at my brother’s face, and I saw tears streaming down his face.  I walked over to him and wrapped my arms around my brother in a protective hug and tears began to wet my cheeks.  There were no words I could utter that could possibly help my brother.  J.R. could not be consoled.  He hurriedly walked out the door, down the lane, and into the woods.  We left him to his solitude.

Several days later we learned the church had received a letter from J.R.’s wife.  Leaving J.R. was not enough, she chose to destroy him as a preacher and a human being.  She took thousand of dollars of collected support money and she disappeared.  She left J.R. to pick up the pieces of his shattered life.  She ruined J.R.’s reputation as well as ours.

There was no consoling J.R., there was nothing we said to him that mattered.  J.R. sank into his pit of gloom.  He told me his life was over.  Kind hearted, generous, loving J.R. felt his life had hit the bottom and there was no way back up.  I thought his wife had to be cold-hearted to do something like this to my brother.

J.R. packed his bags and went to Arizona to stay with out parents.  His wife would call my Mother and tell her J.R. was a horrible person and that he needed to be committed to a mental institution.  These phone calls truly upset my Mother.

For 20 years my brother grieved for his family to the depths of his soul.  He began a business, he continued to preach in Arizona.  He stayed near our parents to help them with their lives.  Not once did J.R,.’s wife or children contact him.  We were never able to locate his family.

Most of you know what J.R.’s business partner did to him in Arizona.  Stole everything he owned.  J.R. has been mistreated by so many people in his life.  He does not remember his family anymore and I am glad.  Life seems to beat all of us down and sometimes we lose the strength to get back up.  Perhaps God gave my brother dementia to relieve him of the burden of his pain, sorrow, and loss.