As Ragamuffin Stories ages, the affirmations are beginning to pile up. The initial two #AffirmationMonday posts were about my parents and a Coach who was like another parent. This week the affirmations flow for a brother and (perhaps more importantly) loyal and sacrificial friend – Daniel Loren Allen.
The reason why it is pertinent to point out the friendship is more important is because he always has been and always will be my brother. No matter what. And we have always gotten along, but somewhere in the past few years we have become best friends. A few different things have led to this beautiful occurrence.
Before we get into this, I have to digress for a moment and share about one of the worst times I have ever felt in my life. When Daniel and I were young, we did what boys do. We were wild, full of energy and wrestled. One time at our grandparent’s house, it got out of control and I tackled Daniel into a kitchen counter. Yeah, I know. He hit the top of his eye on the corner and probably should have gotten stitches. I think the reason that moment still weighs heavy on my mind and heart is I can still remember his face. He looked scared. Scared of the moment. Scared of the blood. Scared of me. I made it a point as probably a 10-year-old or something to never see that look of fear on his face again. I am his older brother.
1) Daniel the comedian. Daniel is funny. When he tries to be and when he doesn’t. Anyone in our family (immediate and extended) will tell you how funny he is and how he makes any family gathering better. Daniel has always done funny things. But, somewhere during his adolescence, he actually ended up being a funny dude. Many times during a week, I find myself laughing out loud while remembering something he did or said.
2) Daniel the younger brother. Daniel has always done the same things as me. It used to be annoying. In that younger brother wanting to do everything the older brother does sort of way. And now, we just enjoy being together and doing the same things. We run. We ski. We kayak. We cook. We fish. We play music. We backpack. We climb. We laugh. And we do it enjoying each other’s company and the experience. This is what began the transformation from strictly brothers to good friends.
3) Daniel the best friend. When I think of a best friend, it is always someone I enjoy being with, can laugh with, share experiences with and someone who cares. Who is loyal. Who loves. In the past few years, Daniel has gone from someone I like to just share experiences with to someone I can count on to be a best friend. It started in January of 2012. While I was allowing my world to fall apart around me, he was there. He didn’t ask questions. He didn’t bug me. He was simply with me. To be a friend. To hang out. To cook. To run. To laugh. To share experiences.
I could go into the details of everything we did together and he did for me. But it will be sufficient to say he was present physically and emotionally when few others were. To do whatever.
4) Daniel the protector. During a kayak trip last spring, Daniel watched me almost drown. Sparing details, he saw that same fear in my face I saw in his when I tackled him into the kitchen counter. It was something he had never saw before and something he never wanted to see again. But, he made sure I got out of the situation. He made sure I was OK. For about an hour, the younger brother became the protective, older brother. And for that, I am forever grateful. And look forward to the next opportunity he has to step up in that way.
Daniel impresses me on a daily basis. His attitude towards life. His energy. His kindness. His zeal for experiences and getting the most out of every day and opportunity. His toughness. His humor. His love and sacrifice for friends and family.
*Editor’s note: My brother is the best.
*Editor’s (second) note: The world lost a wonderful person this weekend in Brennan Manning. He will have his own #AffirmationMonday post, but I am still getting to know his writing. I do suggest reading two blog posts about Brennan Manning and his life – one from my good friend, Melissa (beautiful, amazing post) and another from a very influential author, himself – Don Miller.