A season of love.

“What makes you think you can get your way all the time?” Jacob snapped at his 10-year-old brother who was whining away about not getting the last piece of blueberry cheesecake.

“Cos it’s me and I want it!” Simon retorted. As the younger brother, he could never take “no” for an answer. His parents knew he was kind of spoilt but they felt that listening to him grumbling had always been a waste of time and energy.

Mum came into the dry kitchen, eyeing Jacob questioningly. He threw his head back, slammed the plate with the cheesecake on the counter and stomped out of the kitchen. He knew he wasn’t going to win even if he were to put up a fight. As he ascended the stairs, he heard Simon snickering before his mother told him firmly to be quiet.

Fights like these were common at home, with Jacob always at the losing end. Was he tired of it? Perhaps so, too tired to battle his way for his rights. He decided to just let Simon take whatever he wanted, knowing too well that, like his parents, listening to all of his brother’s whimpers is just a total waste of time.

A couple of weeks after the cheesecake argument, Simon was down with chicken pox. He had to lie in bed in itch and pain for two weeks. He had dreamt of not going to school but chicken pox was definitely not one of his wishes. Both mum and dad work full time. Mum hired a day maid to come to the house in the morning to prepare lunch for Simon. After school, Jacob would have to head home to take care of his brother, to his dismay.

It was hard at first. Jacob thought it was really unfair on him to have to watch Simon. He knew the spoilt brad would take the opportunity to bully him into serving him like a king.

But Simon would sleep most of the time. “It helps relieve me of my itch…” he had said. And to Jacob’s surprise, Simon didn’t really give him a hard time at all. In fact, when he was better, the bored Simon would ask him if he wanted to play Uno or Cluedo with him. After awhile, they were actually enjoying each other’s company and Jacob didn’t mind “baby-sitting” his brother.

When the chicken pox quarantine was over, it was time to return to normal life. Jacob expected the good times to end and Simon would become his usual intolerable self again. But they never did return to how they were before Simon fell sick. Instead, they became great pals. Sure, there were still little little argument about who should take the garbage out or wash the dishes after dinner. Simon was still as whiny and Jacob sometimes found it hard to give in to his brother without a fight but things have somehow changed. They both enjoyed the change. They could actually talk and laughed together without being competitive anymore. They were quite thankful for the bonding opportunity they had as brothers.

Lent is kind of like that “chicken pox quarantine” period. Somehow, we get to reconcile with others and more importantly, with our inner selves. And when that period is over, we find that we can better cope with whatever we found hard to put up with before. It’s a season of understanding, giving, taking, tolerance, forgiveness and patience. It’s a season of learning; a season to renew the art of loving ourselves and one another. It’s a season of love.

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  • Darla Beck on Apr 8, 2009

    Great story!

  • Jo Terry on May 3, 2011

    Thanks, Darla! :) I’m back at Triond… finally…

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