It was your Eagle Scout ceremony. By most standards, you were too young to earn the Eagle ranking, yet you’d done all of the knot-tying and badge achieving and wilderness surviving and the day had come—the one you’d wanted since seeing our dad’s Eagle badge when you were a little boy.
You stood at the front of the white chapel with the Scoutmaster and our parents, reciting oaths and receiving awards.
I sat in the front row of the pews, watching anxiously. I could say I was nervous and excited for my little brother to gain such an honor, but I could also be honest—I was scared of a seizure. You’d had them once or twice, never in public and never with me. Of all the days, it couldn’t be this one. The Scoutmaster’s words were tangled between my worry and what-if’s, making sound but not sense. You looked at me, knowing. You smiled, reassuring. It was your turn to give an award.
Wait…what? This was your day. Certainly I’d misheard. I tried to recall the words, but they remained knotted in my attempts to hide the fear.
“When we asked him if he’d like to recognize a mentor who helped him achieve Eagle, he responded ‘yes’ without hesitation. In fact, I think this may be the first time in our troop a female has been chosen for this award. At this time, we’d like to recognize his sister.”
You chose me.
It was the summer after my college graduation. I was curled up on your bedroom floor, while you pulled out a piece of paper for a pro-con list. I had two job offers—one that everyone else cheered for and another that made my eyes sparkle.
“Kait, I think it’s clear which one you need to do,” you said. You were the only one who noticed the light in my face.
You saw me.
It was our last phone call. You asked me about my new job in Nashville, and I masked my excitement with a “fine.” We hadn’t really talked about Jesus that much outside of church, and I wasn’t sure how to explain my job with an online Bible-reading community to you. One day, I’d do my self-appointed sisterly duties of sharing my real story about God, but not today, I decided.
You asked more questions. Did I have any favorite ways to read Scripture? What were my favorite books? Did I really read it every day? You were trying to, you said.
What did I think about the church we grew up in?
Or those things the youth group leader taught us—were they true?
I hope you heard my happy tears.
Join a small group, I suggested.
“That’s the reason I called!” you said. “It was the best part of my week!”
You were the gospel to me. The most precious piece of my story, pointing me to the pulse of its Author.
You still are the gospel to me.