Artisan by Dan Joyce
My Brother And Best Friend
I’ve always had many difficulties with my family. Coming from a large religious family background and that can be expected. In the Old Testament of the Bible, Nathan, prophesizes that there will never be peace in the house of David. Sadly, large families are like that. But I’ve had one member, my brother-in-law Nans, who has always stood by my side. Going back to my early struggles to overcome alcoholism, Nans has taken calls and emails from me constantly. Nans is a genius, a Mensa member and a physicist for NASA. It has always amazed him how I, with such difficulties as mental illness, can still have a usefully intelligent mind and that these struggles I go through have nothing to do with my intellect. What should be common knowledge regarding such issues, most people don’t realize. We have had long debates on politics and economics, and while these aren’t his field of study, we both find ourselves making equally valid points. I often joke that Nans felt I could be tested genius myself until he found out I’m a socialist democrat and not a republican conservative like himself.
Sadly, Nans has recently been stricken with a fatal and debilitating disease, ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He cannot speak to me on the phone and only chats with me Facebook now. It is difficult to watch my friend and closest brother approach death, yet his spirit remains strong. I see him online more and more, chatting and communicating with others as well as myself. I asked him a daring question we all ask approaching death, “What are your views on God and religion and what do you think happens next?” He said to me that while standard views may seem false, “When I go camping in Yosemite, I see the beauty of the world and cannot deny there has to be something to it.”
While many people have God or other concepts to worship, sadly for some, money, Nans’ God from my experience with him has got to be “reason,” the power of the human mind to eventually accomplish and overcome anything it sets out to do. Through times of difficulty in finance and my relationships, he has always encouraged me to use my intellect to overcome them. Frustrating as these situations may be, he often proves himself right. Sadly time may come in the next few years when I won’t have my dear brother and left only to deal with a bitter family, but the lessons I’ve learned from the genius will be with me all my life.