When they released the recalcitrant brother from jail, it was both the climax of a long day involving travel, bank harrassing, money order buying, marriage suggesting, lawyer meeting, and fine paying and kind of anti-climactic.
He just walked through a door, slighly disheveled, five-days’ growth of beard, and shirt untucked, looking like himself, if slightly tired. He saw us, came over, threw his arms around my dad’s neck, started to cry, and said, softly, “Thank you for coming.”
My first thought was that I was witnessing something holy, but then I thought, I don’t guess that this has much to do with god, because who knows if this is the right thing to do or the best course of action?
It didn’t feel holy. It felt like a desperate old man holding onto a desperate young fool.
I’d like to tell you that my dad has hope that the recalcitrant brother will get on his feet or that he has faith that things will work out.
He does not.
There was nothing miraculous about that moment, nothing sacred. It was like the opposite of sacred–not profane, but achingly ordinary.
It broke my heart.
The recalcitrant brother swore that he will never go back to jail.
That’s what my dad lacks–belief.
And I suppose that’s what it takes to protect yourself in situations like this.