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My brother—what a treasure!
GROWING UP WITH two sisters—Marian (2 years older) and me (4 years younger)—couldn't have been all fun for our brother, Bob. A boy would naturally want a brother. Then, when Bob was 13, Mother gave birth to our sister, Jeanne. I still get a laugh when I recall Bob's immediate reaction to the news: "Not another one!" Nevertheless, even though plenty of teasing took place between brother and sisters as we grew up together, Bob loved us, and we loved him.
I've been thinking a lot about Bob lately. He passed on last month. But I'm not thinking of him sadly. I'm treasuring his life—and letting it continue to enrich my own. This seems to me the way to truly honor one who has gone on. I want to gather into consciousness everything about his character that represents his eternal identity as God's precious child, and let it make me a better person. His life is going on, as is mine, because God is our Life. God is singing over Bob with joy (see Zeph. 3:17), and so am I.
Perhaps because Bob was closer to me in age than either of my sisters, I idolized him. As a little girl, I named my first doll "Bobby," and in many ways I copied my brother in tomboy fashion. Bob was a natural athlete. Though he was small in physical stature (not quite 5 ft 4 in), he was agile and quick. When his high-school football team bent over in a huddle, Bob was the only one standing up straight, but when he carried the ball for them in a play, there was no stopping him from carrying it all the way down the field for a touchdown. He was known as "Speed" Merchant (our family name).
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About the author
Barbara Vining is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher living in Toledo, Ohio.
Always 'under God'
with contributions from Laurie Knights Danko, Jim Bender, Lucie Lehmann-Barclay, Susan Early, Lilli Locke, Peggy Johnsen
items of interest
with contributions from Tom Lowry, Robert Coombe, Craig Cox, Mary Pipher
From self-interest to the common good
By Kim Shippey Sentinel staff
On the way to critical mass
By Tony Lobl
Heal yourself—by helping someone else
By Rebecca Odegaard
Principle in the marketplace—progress report from Ankara
By Gloria Onyuru
Make history? Who, me?
By Beverly Goldsmith Contributing Editor
By Channing Walker
My brother—what a treasure!
By Barbara M. Vining Contributing Editor
How can you help fight the fires?
By David Graham
PRAYER ABOUT FIRES
Is it OK to be happy?
By J. Thomas Black
Disease healed when seen to be unreal
A change of heart
Prayer saves the day
To be a force for good