We seldom imagine that our purpose lies in a relative’s misfortune.
Characteristically, biblical wisdom asks us to re-think:
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 ESV)
Given that most readers of this blog are daughters and sons of a culture that has nuclear-ized our understanding of family, we probably need the invitation to imagine the ‘brother’ in question as something wider than a son of the same father and mother. ‘Kin’, though slightly archaic, does not fit badly as a translation of the Hebrew word. ‘Close relative’ loses the proverb’s poetic brevity, but communicates the essence.
‘Why am I here?’, we might ask ourselves in a private moment? ‘What was I born for?’
Perhaps to accompany a relative in her darkest moment, to offer solace in a brother’s sorrow. To be there. To take the charge, absorb some of the blow, even if aimed at another.
What greater love?