My Brother's Keeper
The Big Sister
“Beth, please keep an eye on your little brother,” my mother said. “I have to help get the food ready and your dad is going to move the car closer to the church.”
“Okay,” I said, a bit irritated. I hardly ever got to play with my cousins, and now I had to watch my brother, too?
We were at a relative’s wedding reception, in a church basement in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. At the time, I was about seven, and my brother, David, was two. I handed David one of his matchbox trucks and ordered him into a corner behind me. The cousins and I went back to playing. I didn’t give David a second thought.
Until my mother returned, looked around, and asked, “Where’s David?”
I’d never heard of the phrase “my blood ran cold,” but that’s what it did. I hadn’t seen him since I’d agreed to watch him. I glanced around.
“Is he with dad?”
“No, your dad left awhile ago to get the car. You’d better go find your brother.” Mom hurried off
I looked all around the church basement and didn’t find him anywhere. Then I noticed the doors that led to the steps to the street. They were open, just a bit. Enough for a two-year-old to squeeze through and follow his daddy. My heart sank. My mother had trusted me with her only son, my only brother, and I had failed. I went up those steps and started to pray.
“Please, dear God, help me find my brother.” I didn’t know how I was going to find one small boy who couldn’t say much more than “Mommy” and “Daddy” clearly. I didn’t know how I could begin looking in a big city when I wasn’t allowed more than a block away from home. I only knew that I trusted God completely, absolutely and unquestioningly. Even earlier than I can remember, I felt God’s unwavering love. So I knew that God could bring David safely back.
“Please, God, help me find my brother,” I said again.
The door to the street was open, too, just a crack. I pushed it open further and stepped onto the sidewalk. The streets were wet and the sky was grey. I looked first to my right, and then to my left, not knowing which way to go. I didn’t even know where my dad had parked.
I looked right again, and there they were. Three large men in dark suits walked down the sidewalk, two of them holding David’s hands. He didn’t look afraid. Relief flooded through my veins.
“Little girl, is this your brother?” one of them asked kindly.
I nodded and held out my hand for David. They let go of him and I ushered him inside. I began to help David down the steps, then I thought, I forgot to say thank you. I turned back up the steps and looked out the door. I looked to the right, to the left and to the right again.
They were gone.
And it was a long, a very long, city block. Where would they have gone so quickly?
I brought David back to my mother, and she didn’t ask any questions so I didn’t tell her about losing my brother or the three men who brought him back. Were they angels? To this day I'm not sure. All I know for certain is that they were sent by God to return one small boy to one unworthy little girl in an ordinary family.