I’ve never really understood what brotherhood is . . . until now.

I’ve grown up with many blood-related brothers. But those relationships were distant or extremely hard to engage. Two of my brothers have developmental disabilities. My oldest brother is 12 years older than me and moved out before I started second grade.

I had male friends at church and friends in the community who were great for periods of my life, but they always dwindled away somehow. As I grew older, my friendships quickly turned into emotional dependency and/or became slightly obsessive.

I guess you could say the male relationships in my life were not what I wanted them to be.

Don’t get me wrong, there were boys and men in my life who were very influential and instrumental to my growth as a boy; yet, I still felt something lacking.

Staying ignorant of any alternatives to “true brotherhood” kept me from really worrying about it.

Recently, I’ve seen more and more guys use the word “brother” or “brotherhood” to describe their friendships. Since my perception of brotherhood was tainted by my literal brothers, I didn’t know how to react to people who referred to each other like that.

I never connected with that term. “Brother” always felt awkward, superficial, or unattainable. Until now . . .

As most of you know, I’m the “runt” of YOB. I’m the youngest blogger here, not even yet a twenty-something. I felt too young, unintelligent, and inadequate to be part of this blog. And yet my other brothers here at YOB have showered me with love, care, affirmation, guidance, laughter, and affection.

These guys mean the world to me.

We’re like a family of brothers — caring for each other despite the state/country lines and geographical time zones that separate us.

I’ve been financially fortunate to visit and fellowship with many of these brothers after meeting most of them face-to-face at our retreat this past summer.

Over my few breaks this semester, I’ve been able to visit with Sam and Will and even talk with them about attraction on YOB’s seventh podcast episode.

Spending time with guys who genuinely care about me and my interests has been a huge highlight of my year. I hope to continually share my heart and be able to experience life more with my brothers on and off the blog.

This is the way that I think brotherhood is supposed to be. With the help of technology, we can stay better connected and somewhat bridge the gap of physical distance.

Slowly but surely, being called “brother” has felt more and more natural.

Brothers, I encourage you to seek out and also offer the spirit of brotherhood to the guys in your own communities. It’s not always easy, but it will change your life.

This idea of brotherhood makes me long for our eternal home — along with perfect, eternal brotherhood in heaven.

What is your definition of brotherhood? Have you ever experienced it? Do you shy away from it, or do you actively pursue it?

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