I received an anonymous message last year that simply said “Why is your blog called Brother Stories? Is there any significance to the title?”
It took me months to come up with an adequate response, which even now seems shallow. Truth be told, this “project” didn’t start as something grand and meaningful. It was simply an outlet to view and share pretty pictures, songs and thoughts. And of course, a means to receive instant gratification, affirmation and acceptance. It pains me to be that honest with you, but that is the truth. Like many of those I have talked with, social media for me has turned into a chance to be loved by thousands. Numbers have turned into “I Love You’s” and comments have become stamps of approval.
I had dinner with a handful of coworkers last night.. I stretched across an entire bench at the restaurant with my back against the wall. I sat and watched families and friends sharing a meal, a pitcher of beer and good conversation. By the time the pizza had turned to crusts and crumbles, the four of us were sharing life stories. What started as tales of broken bones and neighborhood bike gangs quickly escalated to life philosophies and beliefs. I can’t tell you where each of us stands on different issues such as religion or politics, but we did agree on one thing: life is hard. We live in a world full of pressures and expectations. And unfortunately, people can be nasty. For every kind comment, there is a hurtful one hiding just around the corner. It is inevitable. And it makes me sad. Judgmental attacks and alienating agendas. It’s a miracle we all haven’t given up yet.
Now I understand those two thoughts may feel distant. What does the name of my blog have anything to do with dinner discussions about how hard life is? Well, quite frankly, everything. With every fiber of my being I desire to be a catalyst for change and for hope. To be a man who inspires and encourages those around me. A man who loves lavishly. And most tangibly, a man who gives people the freedom to be honest- to be themselves. I’m not sure how it happened, but we live in a world that, for the most part, no longer celebrates diversity. We cringe at the awkwardly dressed individual at the coffee shop. Raise an eyebrow to the mismatched couple walking down the street. Snicker to our friends about the guy who sincerely likes OneDirection. Please hear me when I say that I am just as guilty as the rest of the world. I judge. I gossip. I slander. But I’m trying.
I have a life story that has the power to influence and encourage the folks in my life. And you do too! The problem is that we are scared to be ourselves. We are scared to be honest. Some days, I want nothing more than to look exactly like everyone around me. I want a 9-5 job that pays well. I want to be hooked on the same T.V. shows and sports games. I want the picket fence, pretty wife, and 2 ginger children. But that isn’t my life. And most likely won’t be. So as a 24 year old man, struggling through adulthood, I am making promises to better the world. To live with significance.
I plan on writing out my thoughts on all of the “logistics” later this week, but for now I want you to know this. I care deeply for you. You are an individual for a reason. Stop trying to be like everyone else. And most importantly, let’s be kind. Go out of your way to make someone feel special and needed. It’s really not hard. And frankly, it can save someone’s life. There is tremendous power in living loved.
I fully intend to explain further. Just wanted to share a piece of my mind and my heart with you. Stay tuned, friends. Big things coming down the pipe for Brother Stories.
The Church of Jesse Lacey