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Dustin:  Gung Ho Joy and Hard Won Wisdom

Fifty years ago today, my brother Dustin took his first breath in this world. I was almost six at the time and I have been blessed with a front row seat to his life. Today I’d like to share a scoop of my immediate family blessing with you, my church family.

There are two major qualities I admire in my ‘little’ brother that are well worth celebrating and emulating. The first is gung ho joy. Spell check is telling me ‘gung ho’ isn’t proper, but I ain’t changing it because it describes my brother perfectly. Dustin has always had a great zeal for life – always ready to try new things, learn new things or take on a new challenge, and always with a giant grin on his face. Even as I write this, I see snapshots of him navigating big whitewater in his red kayak, flying over a jump on his mountain bike or using an eclectic collection of household goods for an incredible science experiment.

Sadly, I often didn’t properly appreciate Dustin in our early years because I was too focused on myself. When I started high school, I remember trying to get him to run football drills with me and getting mad when he wouldn’t take it seriously. I suddenly realized one day (the word is ‘epiphany’) that I would be leaving home in a year and that my relationship with my brother was quite poor. The thought of going through life like that frightened me and I sought to patch things up before I left. Dustin is very gracious and I am grateful we have grown close in the decades since.

While I love Dustin’s gung ho joy, I most admire his hard won wisdom. The price was terribly steep and included spending four years in prison beginning when the last of his four children was born. The grief and agony of those days for himself and everyone close to him are impossible to describe. But I watched him embrace God’s correction, knowing that it was for his good, that he might grow in God’s holiness. His amazing family also clung hard to God’s grace and the result has been a lot of good fruit. Dustin has seen God produce ‘a harvest of righteousness’ through this painful discipline. (Heb. 12:7-13) If you ever visit them and see their huge family garden, you will see a living illustration of God’s grace in their lives.
Happy 50th birthday, little brother! I thank God for you.


Categories: Evergreen Connection