Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Bryan at Rehab feeding goats.

He endured tons of manual labor (feeding goats here) with a smile while he sobered up.

May 2007

I have no sense of time. I have spatial-temporal issues. I can't seem to find my place on the timeline. As I get older, and more life forms depend on me, I realize the blight that my time-challenges make on our lives. I don't wear a watch. I don't use a cell phone. I can never find my purse-sized calendar. Or my purse. I am hopeless.

That is my excuse for why this Multitude Monday posting is happening on Tuesday. I meant to write it last night but I lost track of time. And now it is Tuesday. But I press on, because the only honorable thing a person can do in the face of their weakness is to keep on. Even if I am a day late. Again.

I do all kinds of things to compensate for my time-challenges--sticky notes, leave voice mails for myself, star emails of importance, put time-tickers on my blog, pray, deny, cry. But it is a character weakness I have learned to live with. If you read this blog, you get to live with it too.

Bryan had a half dozen watches. He was timely. Even though he was a single guy, Bryan wasn't known for making the whole family wait for him. Periodically, he changed the plan at the last minute, but for the most part he could be counted on to be on time. For family photos, ballet recitals, Christmas present-opening, etc. I have experience with that other sort of person--you know, the one who doesn't own a watch and has no sense of time. You never know when, or IF, you are going to see that kind of person.

Time. It is so fleeting. My brother has been dead for 11 months. It seems like it was just yesterday that mom, dad, Bryan and I were eating at his favorite Hawaiian BBQ near his house. We had just picked him up from the hospital where he had been taken by ambulance after suffering a long and dreadful seizure. He had nearly bitten his tongue through. It looked awful. He looked awful. I remember thinking to myself, "why are we here? how can he be sipping soup? this is surreal. my brother could have died today." Bryan died 3 months later.

And instead of pressing in, and saying what needed to be said; "Bryan, you are in trouble again. You need help. What can I do to help you?" I ate my teriyaki chicken and made small talk. "he's exhausted. he's just been through the most dreadful thing in his life. where do I begin? he's going to think I am preaching at him. i don't know what to say."

Lost moments. That was the last time my brother and I had an opportunity to really talk. Even though he had been through an excruciating ordeal, even though his tongue was swollen and bruised, even though his heart was breaking but he didn't know how to articulate that, even though we were sitting in busy dive eating fried tempura, I should have seized the moment and said, "i love you too much to watch you self-destruct. the seizure was a HUGE warning light. you need help. you can't see it for yourself, you can't get it for yourself. i am here to help. and i am not going to leave you alone. no matter what. no matter what you say or don't say. i love you and i won't let go."

The holidays are hard for so many people. We forget that. Those of us who are busy, surrounded by people we love, with plenty, and full of good things in our hearts and days--we forget. And we don't make time to think of others who are living a much different reality. Maybe you have a loved one is pretending that they will get it together "later". Maybe you have a neighbor who is spending their first Christmas without his wife. Do you know of a family who is on the verge of losing their home this year? I have people in my life living these realities.
These are the moments to seize: the second to smile, press in, be nosy, insist on dropping off a meal, reach out for a hug even though it seems like you are invading their space, write a note telling her how much you are praying for her, getting on your knees and pleading to God for his life, holding your man and whispering how glad you are to be his, staying up late and listening to a teen prattle about something she finds interesting, reaching across the table in a busy restaurant, holding hands, looking into downcast eyes, and saying, "I love you too much to leave you to yourself. I am here. I am not going away."

Don't let any more moments slip away from you today. Tell the people you love that you won't stop, ever. Forgive the people who have hurt you and look for a way to repay their evil with kindness. Hug, smile, hold hands, write notes, intercede, pursue, reach out, open up, stick your neck out. Don't believe it when people say they just want to be alone. No one really wants to be alone in this fractured, hurting world. I am preaching to myself. I have been given an opportunity to learn from my mistake. I am sharing what I am learning with you. I won't let all this pain be wasted. Learn with me.

Now is the time. Today is the day. Right this minute. I realize I am not God, I can't "fix" people. No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't save Bryan. Only He can. Only He could. I know that. But we can be the hands and feet and hugs for Jesus to a hurting world. This year, in honor, as a tribute to my brother and his huge bear hugs and bigger grins, I will spend my TIME looking for ways to love those the He has put in my path. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed to me. Or you.
224. praying out loud
225. forgiveness--sapping bitterness of its power
226. fires in the fireplace
227. cuddling around the fire with cozy jammies, pillows, blankets, and love
228. studying girl without any prompting
229. telling the truth even at great personal cost
230. true repentance from 8 yo
231. pleading for wisdom and receiving it
232. clean hair
233. meredith's tortilla soup
234. little hands "creating" even if it means stepping on tiny pieces and damaging soles of feet
235. sobriety, even for a few months
236. answered prayer
237. lost moments redeemed
238. lost souls saved
239. lost hope restored
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18


Anonymous said...

As always.....Awesome!!!!!I hope you really understand how your learning is also teaching us!!!!!Peace and Love.....Aunty Ingy

Anonymous said...

My name is Bryan Burns or as BK called me (B3). I lived with BK at two different locations after I moved to Carlsbad while working for Hennesseys. When I moved from Ohio, I didn't have many friends at all. BK took me under his wing with that big smile and off the wall humor and made me feel like one of the tribe. He introduced me to all the locals and showed me around town. I could not have asked for a better person to be have as a friend. We did a lot together and I have a large bank of memories that will always be cherished from BK and his antics. From teaching me the correct way to cook carniasada to bartending skills to respecting and keeping the holiday spirits alive to using a whole case of golf balls on nine wholes playing a par 3 course with G-Dog (Gary). I will always respect and cherish the times I was allowd to spend with BK, one of the greatest men I have had the pleasure of knowing. By the time this tragedy had happened, I had already moved back to Ohio. I had lost contact information with Bryan's parents. Almost 3 1/2 years later, I still keep BK's old phone number in my phone because he was such a good friend. I was thinking about him today (8/6/1012) and found this blog. I have been reading for hours and it has had me on an emotional rollercoaster but ultimely ending with a smile of how much love he had from friends because of the life he lead and the person he was. I miss you buddy, til we meet again, Bryan (B3)

WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!