In the fascinating personality model of the Enneagram, I’m a Type 4, the individualist. Type 4’s are generally introverted, introspective, creative, and — best of all — deeply emotional. Everything profoundly affects us 4’s, from sunsets to dog movies to every single word everyone has ever said to us.
More than any other type, the 4 feels he is cut from a different cloth than the rest of humanity. The 4 craves a rescuer to save him from his plight, and while my spirit clings to Jesus as my ultimate rescuer, my heart can’t help yearning for another, more tangible saving one.
Amid this particular arena of same-sex attraction, my Type 4 self hungers for the love of another man to save me — but, as I wrote previously, rarely the love of a romantic partner.
For most of my life, I’ve wanted the love of a big brother.
A couple years ago, a Christmas commercial wrecked me — the usual for a Type 4 — and I wrote on my other blog about this big brother hole in my life. In times of uncertainty and confusion, especially, these brotherly longings swirl most vigorously.
I got to searching videos on YouTube the other night, and what I found wrecked me. I started following a rabbit trail of “big brother surprises little brother” videos, where big strong active military guys opened a door or turned a corner and surprised their innocent unaware little brothers.
All the videos ruined me, but this particular reaction broke me the most:
I’ve watched this video probably a dozen times; it keeps drawing me back for reasons I uncover with each subsequent viewing.
The little brother’s military shirt in honor of his big brother.
The little brother’s gasp and covering of emotions at the sight of his big brother in the shadows.
The little brother’s rush to fall into his big brother.
The little brother’s refusal to let go of his big brother.
The big brother’s holding of his little brother, stroking his back, and kissing the top of his head repeatedly.
And the big brother holds and strokes and kisses his little brother as long as he needs him to.
I find myself living vicariously through the little brother, always wanting a big brother to hold me like that, especially in times of mourning and madness: when I moved as a kid, when my dog died in college, toward the end of a continental road trip, and even now as I try to piece a new life together.
I’ve always wanted to press into someone bigger than me, someone stronger, someone wiser. A big brother to hold me, a big brother to comfort me, a big brother to tell me everything will be okay because he’s right there and he’s not going to let me go.
As the oldest of three kids, I’ll never know the feeling of a big brother by blood, and that honestly pricks my heart. Looking back on these last five years, I realize many of my friendships with opposite-sex attracted (OSA) males have been repeated, often feeble, attempts to secure the big brother I’ve never had yet always wanted, obsessing over guys to the point of idolization and eventually parting ways with the older brother figure who, in fact, did not rescue me from my plight.
And this Type 4’s savior search continues.
I know I’ve matured a lot in the last five years. I’m grasping more that no human can fully “rescue” me, that only Jesus can provide what my soul truly craves — a reason to live.
Jesus has indeed rescued me from a purposeless void, filling me with these passions to write and tell my story and connect my journey with others as I go — as all of us crawl and stagger and go.
I don’t know that I’ll ever fully lose these heartbeats of longing for that big brother figure, or if I’ll ever find him. A big brother to shove me when I tell a stupid joke. A big brother to tell me to go away when I follow him around too much.
But ultimately, a big brother to wrap his arms around me when I’m hurting. A big brother to guide me, a big brother to protect me, a big brother to pray over me.
A big brother to stand beside, to look up to, and see strength. Strength in him, strength in me.
Do you have a big brother? Tell us about your relationship with him. Are you the oldest like me or an only child, and have you ever wanted a big brother figure in your life?
* Photo courtesy ophilos, Creative Commons.