Those of you who have known me for a while or have me added on Facebook, probably have heard mention of my brother in Heaven, Aaron. When you hear of someone young passing away, it seems we usually assume that it was something sudden; a tragic car accident, a drug overdose, a suicide, etc. The reality is my brother’s passing wasn’t really sudden in that way. He struggled with health issues his entire life. He was born with a congenital heart defect known as tricuspid atresia, which means he was born without a right ventricle. Despite having to have numerous surgeries, procedures, checkups and medications he was able to live a relatively normal life and oftentimes most people were never even aware he had a heart condition.
I think most people, if they were ever in the same position he was in, would probably have lived their life much differently than he did. I think most people, myself probably included, would be angry, bitter and negative. Few people know that sometimes he also had his share of days where he felt negative and down about his life but majority of the time, in spite of his circumstances, he lived his life to the fullest with a smile and always thought more of others than he ever thought of himself. His positive attitude was infectious. Every person he encountered, even if they were reluctant at first, became a fast friend and as such, he was a man of many friends whom he loved being around. He was spectacular at making people happy and making people laugh and I don’t know about you, but I certainly could use more people like that in a world that seems so negative!
Above all, he was a man of unfailing faith and a love for Christ that seemed unmatched. He never forced others to believe what he believed but he had this ability to, little by little, chisel away the hard, rough exterior that people put up to guard themselves and make them see how much better life could be if they lived more like he did. He showed love to people who were definitely not the easiest to love and even showed love to the people who hurt him or people he maybe didn’t like all that much. He treated everyone the same.
In the 22 years of my life that I got to share with him, I learned so much. I know I have a completely different personality than he had, but when I think of living a better life, I think of living more like he did. He changed so many lives in just 24 years and the ripples of his life are still going strong. I can’t even imagine the number of people out there that I don’t even know that probably have a story of how their lives were impacted by him. And this week I am thankful I got a little bit more insight into a few of those lives who were changed.
The reason I felt compelled to write more about him is because on Sunday my church had a sermon all about being “STUCK” in the middle of disappointment. We all face disappointment, it’s a part of life, but what we learned on Sunday, is that God is present with a purpose even in those times of disappointment. In order to drive the point home, they showed a video of my Dad talking about my brother and how his attitude and faith even when facing a heart transplant really changed his life. I wanted to share the video of the sermon on my blog, not just because it’s my Dad and my brother but because I feel that it is part of my duty, being left behind, to share the story in hopes that it will inspire others and in order to keep those ripples flowing.