Because I had no lead for today’s blog, I thumbed among my books for a favorite and withdrew When True Simplicity is Gained – Finding Spiritual Clarity in a Complex World (1998) by the father-and-son-team, Martin and Micah Marty. Its simple meditations interfacing black and white photos taken of the restored Shaker community in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, had inspired me to hold onto the book, despite periodic thinnings of my bookcase.

Within its yellowing pages, a card with a floral design slipped out, probably like blank ones I used to send. Then, I opened it. Inside were the generous strokes of my brother Mark, with birthday wishes for my sixty-fifth.

He wrote: “…it is your turn to celebrate the accomplishment of another year. May it bring you closer to your life’s goal and a trusting relaxation in the goodness of God at work in your soul and through your hands.”

These loving wishes, written on November 9, 2000, predated our falling out over Mother’s care following her 2003 stroke; it continued beyond her passing in 2008. Later, I’d hoped to make amends to Mark for my jealousy—usurping my relationship with Mother and becoming her favorite son—and for my envy for his unusual giftedness. Because he could not tolerate my presence, this amends could not happen.

In retrospect, though, his brief kiss on my cheek and his “Goodbye” after Easter brunch with the family in 2017 served that purpose. He died of cancer the following July.

Yet, from Mark’s 2000 birthday wishes comes fresh healing of an old wound. Such synchronicity staggers the imagination.

The cover of the card, with the linnaea borealis Twinflowers, also speaks to the resolution of this discord. I am forgiven… and still shuddering…