My brother should be turning 40 years old today. Could've, should've, would've....didn't. I've thought a lot about what would be an appropriate way of honoring his birthday? And by what criteria is something 'appropriate'? It will feel right, is my answer. So I'll tell a story....
Once upon a time, there was a young lad. His father a preacher, and his mother an employee at a bookstore, they were not exactly financially well to do. So it came with great surprise that one day for his 12th birthday, the boy received a shiny new bike. By his standards, it was quite an expensive bike. I'm sure it was by standards of the wallet of my parents, too. The boy was young and impetuous, as many a young boy is. He went riding his bike with several of his friends. They stopped inside a shop for no more than five minutes. While his bike was a wonder by his mind, it was surrounded by bikes that were two- to three-fold more expensive. Ironically, the thief who walked by couldn't tell the difference either and stole the shiny new one. Devastated and heartbroken, insult was added to injury by necessitating a long, arduous walk home. Embarrassed and ashamed, he recounted the tale to his parents.
The boy had a brother who was four years his senior. Being older in age and more responsible, the older brother had saved up some of his earnings from his menial job of tending to the lawns of more affluent people. Seeing his younger sibling suffer so moved his easily movable heart. So he offered up his own hard-earned currency to purchase his younger brother another bike, shiny and pretty as the previous one. And a lock.
Happy birthday, brother.