I've thought long and hard about how to approach this speech and realized that every time I sat down to write, I couldn't offer my words without also invoking our late brother Nate because as the three of us grew, we were always seen as the unusually close trio of siblings. Indeed, I offer these words in his memory and in your honor.
With Nate in mind and the bond that the three of us share know that this speech comes from a place of intimacy and in knowing my brothers as both friends and as siblings. It comes from a place of love.
When we were younger, Nate and I would bask in terrorizing Joshua and he has some permanent scars as proof, although I suspect he's made up stories because frankly I think it's more sexy to say that your knuckles got scared while snowboarding then saying that your brothers tied your arm up and thrust your hand into an operational fan to see "what would happen."
Despite my masterminded scientific experiments, which sought to discover how much pain my brothers body could handle, we loved one another. After the fourth of July, when we were younger, Joshua would demand that I join him in collecting used fireworks for our masterpieces. He would drag me out of bed and pressure me to dress. We'd hop on our bikes, with bags slung over our shoulders and we would grab as many discharged fireworks as possible. We would come home and Joshua would set to work piecing together a masterpiece of trash, fireworks, and other found items. I would sit back and watch, occasionally join in at his demand but always careful not to deviate from his master art plan.
Joshua has always been an artist and he sees beauty in ways that I can only hope to one day envision. The optimism that my partner accuses of me is only eclipsed by the optimism that my brother embodies. Funny, our mother always noted our individual skills growing up and she always found a way to harbor those natural skills in each of me and my brothers.
Nathaniel, the guitar. He could hear a song once and play it note for note. His voice was angelic and his music was magical. His own lyrical construction offered me hope.
Me, the pen. As the writer, I work to piece together poetic pentameter and academic jargon seeking to make knowledge from nothing. Mastering styles at once, I was the one who felt through written word.
Joshua, the brush. The charcoal. The air brush. The spray can. The axe. The acrylic. The oil. The canvas. The pastels. The world. Joshua is a worldly artist, capable of picking up any medium, with a precision met only by the originators. What he touches becomes a world of possibility, and the world in turn is made beautiful by his touch. He sees possibility in anything and everything and he is, ultimately a dreamer.
Guided by the dreams of tomorrow, he sees possibility and knows how to make things work. He solves problems and despite his stubborn persona, he is steadfast and focused. Despite his simultaneous lack of focus, he remains engaged. And through his engagement with the world, he makes things happen. Leaving things better off than when he found them.
Indeed, he imparts in us all a beauty that can only be interpreted as individualized and tailored perfection.
Sure, he may "forget" to lock the front door; or wash the dishes; or move his truck; or turn off the lights; or turn down the music; but in the end, he never forgets to love.
Through all of the beauty that he sees in the world, he loves. Joshua is love. He thinks through and with emotions. He feels the moment and he is the moment. But he is not shortsighted by the moment either. He sees endless possibility in the moment. And it is beauty. It is love.
That is why, even though I just met Jennifer, I know that Joshua is making the right decision. That when he looks into her eyes, I know that he loves her, that he can see the future, that he can see that even though the path may be, and probably will be rough, that his creative capabilities enable him the possibility of navigating that terrain with Jennifer by his side.
Together, they will move forward; prepared to engage what comes their way; and together, they will make beauty and they will be love. For, they already are love.
While we get to know Jennifer, and while Jennifer's family gets to know Joshua, I know that all will grow together.
I leave with two haikus, one for each of them as words of advice. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the haiku, it is an ancient poetic form. Quick and effective. If you are not listening, you will miss it entirely. They typically consist of three lines with a syllabic structure of 5-7-5, that is 5 syllable line, 7 syllable line, 5 syllable line.
Haiku for Joshua:
My little brother
When it gets hard, breathe and love.
Also, take out the trash!
Haiku for Jennifer:
To my new sister
Don't be afraid to slap him
He needs it sometimes