I was the “good son.” I did what I was told to the best of my ability. Needless to say, I was angry when my little brother asked and received his share of the inheritance. Soon he was gone – apparently to explore the wild side of life. As the older brother, I was now unable to control (at least attempt to control) him. No longer could I tell him what to do, when and how to do it.

Several years later my younger brother returns, my father throws a big party and invites family, friends and neighbors to come and celebrate his return. I discover what’s going on when I ask one of the help, “what’s up with all the music and dancing?” He tells me that our father is celebrating the safe return of my brother. I have faithfully worked with and for the benefit of the estate and have never received a party in recognition of my service. It is true I am jealous, angry and feel unfairly treated. In frustration, I tell my father that it is not right that his son, who has wasted his money on prostitutes, should receive such a welcome. I am not in any mood to listen to my father’s explanation and reasons for rejoicing.

My father points out that as a faithful son, all he has is mine. He then tries to tell me something of my brother’s life away from home. He explains that as one who is dead, he is now come back to life. He was lost and is now found.

Somehow, I allowed myself to be consumed with self-righteous indignation. My attitude meant that I no longer loved my brother as I once did. What I needed was to accept him the same way my father loved and accepted me.

An Older Brother