Good heroes are hard to find. In early times, my heroes were wearing capes or masks and had Halloween costumes in their honor. Later, my heroes excelled on the court, field, or diamond. (I miss you Michael Jordan!) But as I got older, I realized I would never be a super-hero zooming through the clouds to save the day. It also became apparent I would never be able to dunk, tackle or throw a 95 mile an hour fastball. I got older and life became exponentially more complicated. Relationships and responsibilities filled the day. Crushes turned into dating turned into husbandry turned to fathering. Playing hide and seek turned into studying turned into more studying turned into testing and then a job and then owning my own business. I might watch Avengers now, but I have a different understanding of what a hero is.
Let me introduce you to one of mine.
Joanna Fuhrman is my sister. In ancient days, she was my mortal enemy. I found great pleasure in her misery. I shot at her with BB guns. I played pranks on her. I made attempts to embarrass her in public and was often very successful. I vomited on her because, as I remember it, it was hard to distinguish the difference between her sleeping face and the toilet. Those were hard days for her…I hope.
Because we were home-schooled the majority of our childhood, we were together constantly. I watched her grow up all the while thinking she was stupid for doing it. Then an amazing transformation took place.
I started growing up too. I needed girl help. Joanna was always willing to listen. And she gave great advice.
Home-school turned into college and life was throwing curves left and right. I needed help. Joanna gave great advice.
College turned into law-school and serious girl relationships. I was beginning manhood. I was developing independent spiritual disciplines that would establish my direction for years to come. It was heartbreaking and confusing, but she gave great advice.
It was around then that I realized that she who was once my nemesis was now my friend. And I have had no better friend.
She is steady. She is grounded. She is devoted. She is faithful. She loves Jesus. She is a super mom. She cooks, cleans and rides. She teaches, cheers and cries. She games…and loses…to me.
She thinks. I love a good thinker. She is a great thinker-listener combo. Unless you are trying to get her to listen to a song. Good luck with that. But she talks politics and books and theology and all the while listens and respects my opinions.
Joanna cares for her family. Her extended family too. She makes time with us a priority even when it is difficult. Or inconvenient. Or expensive. She always has time for talk. Or advice. Or a laugh.
Oh, the laughs. I told Candice I rarely feel prouder of myself than when I make Joanna laugh. Laughing over dinner, over Rook, over Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. All at 2 o’clock in the morning knowing the kids will be up by seven.
God gave us our children, parents and siblings for a deliberate reason. In His sovereign goodness and design, he chose from the infinite possibility of souls and placed her in my life. Though her childhood was likely worse because of me, my life is infinitely better because of her.
So this October 24th, wish a Happy Birthday to Joanna. My sister. My hero. My friend.