Tribute to My Brother Lee
February 3, 2017
After spending a few days going to the Charis Bible College 2017 Men’s Advance with my brother Lee, I found myself wanting to write about him and our relationship. We started our lives two and a half years apart in the early 1940s on our Americus, Kansas, farm. We competed and we cooperated, we fought and we played together – mainly played. We experienced what some would call deprivation with low wealth, hard and sometimes dirty farm labor, no indoor plumbing, wood heat and the labor that produced the wood. We had no air-conditioning and in our sleeping rooms, no heat. In summer, we had our own beds. In winter, we wrapped a soapstone in newspaper to warm our feet as we snuggled on the feather-tick and under quilts.
Through our childhoods we shared the same morning devotions at breakfast, the same penalty for swearing (soapy mouthwashing), the same countless hours outside doing farm work and chores, swimmings in the pond behind the barn, roaming the fields and pastures, spankings (many) when we disobeyed, and so many common memories like the time Mom paid us 50 cents if we would sit quietly at the dining room table all day.
When I was out of school and teaching in Emporia, Lee started dating Kathy; and they would spend many hours with Patty and me visiting and playing cards of several kinds. Kathy was an only daughter; Patty was a much younger sister to her sisters. Patty and Kathy became and remained like sisters themselves. Until Kathy died a couple of years ago, very few months passed in about 50 years that we did not visit each other. In years when we lived close, we saw each other practically every week.
After my March 21, 1973, experience that I have come to call being baptized with the Holy Spirit, I shared my experience with Jesus the next weekend with Lee and Kathy and they soon had their own experiences. It was then that prayer became a part of our togetherness. We became involved in churches and acted in various parts of church leadership. A special memory I have from those early years is Lee’s having a dream about the pearl of great price during his time of teaching a high school Sunday school class in Allen, Kansas. I suspect God has used his dream to bless everyone that has ever heard it.
Together through these many years, we have experienced high times with miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, dry times when we wondered what was happening, lukewarm times when we were a bit ashamed of our conditions, and again times of deep intimacy with Jesus and each other.
Last week on our trip to Charis Bible College’s 2017 Men’s Advance, our intimacy was advanced. Lee spoke some correction into my life that perhaps no other person on earth could do. (I should be more open and sensitive to correction by Christian brothers and sisters.) We reviewed our last couple of years since Kathy passed on the Heaven. Lee had stayed at our house only four or five times. He grieved heavily and felt terribly lonely. He lost 50 pounds not because he was dieting, but because he was grieving. In his deep loneliness that he had expressed to me several times, we both remember that in Kathy’s dying days, she had made it very clear that it was OK for Lee to remarry. He began to be open and to seek another relationship.
So, as we’re driving along to Colorado, he told me about the depth of his relationship with Lupe Lazzers. He told me their relationship has passed to where each morning he was sending her a paraphrase from our favorite devotional My Utmost for His Highest, and she would answer with a scripture – and they would pray together. Lee talked of several instances where one would have an idea and within minutes the other would be expressing the same idea. They were experiencing something so very similar to something Lee and I experienced on that drive. Lee asked me what I thought of the two of us writing a book together. What Lee didn’t know was that I had spent the last week or two thinking about asking him to do just that with a book idea I have.
Lee and Lupe want to be together all the time – just as Patty and I did during our courting days. They attend church together often even though they live about a hundred miles apart. Should a marriage announcement soon arrive, I could not be happier about it. I know they’ll be happy – and I’m hoping that I’ll get to see more of my precious and wonderful brother.
God bless you, Lee and Lupe