The gift of an a**hole brother

I heard from my brother today. It’s rare and typically unpleasant when I hear from him. Today’s messages: “I see that you are a messenger contact with my boys. Leave them be. They have enough bad influence from their mother. No response necessary or appreciated.”

I am Facebook friends with one of his sons. I think I friended him a few years ago, mostly to let him know that even though his family life was falling apart (mom took the boys, dad has a host of issues), that his dad’s family wasn’t abandoning him, too. I don’t think we’ve ever chatted, and he’s not a prolific Facebook poster. So, the whole leave him be thing is pretty well covered. Per the bad influence thing, I’m mostly amused by my brother’s perception of me as a bad influence. Annoyed to be compared to his ex-wife, but amused at the irony of the comparison.

After stewing and thinking to myself ‘How dare he?’, I realized I didn’t need to respond. Not just because he said ‘no response necessary’, but because I don’t need to care about his opinion. And that realization is a gift. I thought about blocking him on Facebook. And then thought that it was a better gift to both him and me to turn the other cheek. His insults don’t hurt: they’re immaterial. Responding to him would cause him and me to spend energy. I can think of much more positive ways to do so.

Merry Christmas, brother. You’ve given me a gift: the ability to turn the other cheek to you and other a**hole folks. May your Christmas be filled with positivity, with people you find inspiring, with ideas you find aspirational. I’m apparently not that for you, and neither are you that for me, but I hope you find it this holiday season.

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