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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson



The day Grant and Kiana left for their honeymoon, Nils was busy painting. I didn’t know what he was working on until later. Later when he brought the canvas upstairs to show me and said, “This is for Grant.” It was a guitar. He wanted to include some text, and asked me if I had any ideas about what he ought to say. I told him, “I know what you need to say. I think you do, too.” It’s all he needed.

A while later he reappeared, artwork finished. And it was perfect. BROTHER LET ME BE YOUR SHELTER. The thing he’d been wanting to say all along.

It was the song three brothers sang at the wedding, playing three guitars. They’d been practicing here at home all week and making me cry. Which was fortunate. The crying ahead of time, that is. Otherwise I’d have never made it, listening to them sing it there at the wedding, under the tent with all those guests, and all that emotion.

There was a brother theme running through this wedding, to be sure. The groom’s side, all brothers to varying degrees. Blood, adopted, joined, and honorary. The wedding program listed names, but no relationship. No – Luke Anderson, brother of the groom. We wondered what the bride’s guests might have thought. What stories they might have assumed, seeing our assortment of young men.

The night before, at the rehearsal dinner, introductions had been made. Grant and Kiana together, introducing all their special people, honoring each one. Kiana was a fountain of tears from the first, but Grant was upbeat. All smiles. He introduced Luke and Nils and a couple of buddies. Moved around the patio to grandparents and cousins. His parents. And then. A surprise.

There, sitting apart at the edge of the action were Felipe and Jimmy. Grant took one look at these two brothers, and he lost it. Overwhelmed by emotion, and he couldn’t speak. And you know how tears are contagious. Jimmy, and most of the rest of us, too. And not one of us saw that coming, especially not Grant.

Later he asked, “What did I actually say? Was it alright?” And I assured him, whatever you said, it was perfect.

He wrote them letters, too. I’m not sure if they’ve read them. Yet. Someday, hopefully. But for now, those tears probably said enough. You have a big brother who loves you. Deeply. He wants you to be okay.

And that’s what he told me later. Grant. This boy whose heart is so tender, and only one thing really matters. He just cares so much about their souls. He wants them to know Jesus. He’d like to be there to see it happen. To see them soften, and fall in love. Like he did. It’s what he wrote in the letters.

Luke gave a toast at the wedding, his best-man speech. And he’s a communication major, so of course he had three points. Three memories and three applications. It was awesome. But one story stood out most, at least for me. It’s a story I don’t remember, but Luke does, and he’s told it before. It’s one of his earliest memories. He was three, sitting at the kitchen table with his big brother Grant, who couldn’t have been more than five. There were coloring books and crayons, and while they scribbled, Grant was talking. About Jesus. Telling Luke all about him. About how he died and how he loved. And Luke remembers. It was the first time he said yes to Jesus.

All these years later, here’s Grant, still doing it. Still leading brothers to Jesus. Still caring about their souls.

Brother. You’ve been a shelter. And then some.

Don’t stop.

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