Today we’ve changed, you and I. You’ve crossed a channel to another side where Cheng becomes Jin, and house and hall become memory and familiar place, but never again home–where a little girl and boy once played and shrieked and swam under the summer sun, and Mom and Dad stood hand in hand, their gaze adoring, their love so flawed, yet true.
But that too has changed, as you and I know so well, the joy of yesteryear clouded, shrouded in funereal form, where four and whole and Mom became three and broken and small. But not all change was dark, for in later years though we no longer played and swam, our play and squabbles deepened into something else: love and care and long talks past night’s nadir about people, God, loss, and even golden days like these.
And you yourself have changed too. You’ve grown wiser and tougher, more firmly rooted in what and Who is true, and yet more tender, more like the Savior. And you’ve fallen in love. You’ve found a new shoulder to rest on, a new heart into which you spill your struggles, sorrows, and dreams, and a good one too.
And yet you haven’t changed. You’re still my older sister who keeps a little food, a small treat to bring home to younger brother, who still outstrips me in generosity and brings me gifts without fail. You’re still my older sister, fiery and fair, whose compassion sounds to the bottom of a deepest well. You’re still my older sister, who counsels, encourages, and always seeks my good. You’re still my older sister who always goes before, in life and now in marriage.
Today we’ve changed, you and I, we’ve changed, but we have not. For we still and always have our double bond of blood and blood, more solid and sure than granite hewn from the highest mountain. We’ve changed, but we have not, for I will still and always be your brother and you will always be something more precious than confidant, counselor, mentor, friend, for all of those words are found wanting–you are something far greater and more precious summed up in a single word: sister. Irene, you are my dear, cherished sister, and I will always love you.