I love my little brother. He is six feet and four inches of a completely praiseworthy man. So I guess I should say, I love my younger brother--there really isn't anything little about him.
When we were kids, Mac and I would wrestle and tease each other. I am five years older, so I usually won based merely on size. But my dad warned me, "Be careful, someday he is going to be bigger than you and then you'll be sorry!" That day came one summer when I was home from college, I was twenty and Mac was fifteen. We were teasing, chasing through the house, and I just barely made it to my room in time to lock the door before he could totally clobber me. I stood panting, safely behind that door for a few seconds, listening for where he had gone. Not more than thirty seconds later he was back at my door with a screwdriver and the bolts on the door were quickly coming out! It was then that I grasped the full reality of my dad's words--not only was my little brother bigger than me, but he was smarter than me too!
This boy transformed into a man, recently returned home from living in Wyoming and Colorado while serving a two-year mission for our church. And waiting for him on his return was something that every man prays for...oh, the thrill of young love!
Kaylin and Mac.
Mac and Kaylin!
Shout it from the rooftops, I've been wanting to write their love story all week! But the great thing is--they've already got it in writing. For the past two years they have exchanged over two hundred letters.
"Don't wait for me," he said before he left.
"I wasn't planning on it," was her reply. But her plans quickly changed.
While Mac was away, going through the process of becoming a missionary, Kaylin was here, finding out why he needed to do that. While Mac was growing into a kind and loving man, Kaylin was here, discovering just what kind of woman she wanted to be. While Mac taught people hundreds of miles away, missionaries were here at home, teaching Kaylin that same message. While he was studying and praying, she was studying and praying. While supportive from a distance, Mac's absence allowed Kaylin to discover for herself the truth and knowledge that led her to baptism. And through it all, they wrote.
In those letters, their friendship grew and a future began to form. Then, from the moment Mac returned home from Colorado, time previously spent with pen in hand was replaced by time spent hand-in-hand. When Mac learned that busy schedules would keep them from seeing each other one day, he went to her house at six in the morning to surprise her before the day had even begun. Waking to sounds outside her window and finding Mac waiting for her there, Kaylin remembers that as one of her favorite days. From then on, their conversation changed from what had happened that week to what they hoped would happen in the coming weeks together.
So when Mac had to leave for school, the separation was almost unbearable. After two weeks away from each other, Mac decided that this semester would be the last time he would ever be separated from Kaylin--ever. Little did he know how greatly his determination to propose would be tested in the process of making his dream a reality.
(this is the part that makes me giddy!)
"It has to be this weekend," Mac explained to me over the phone. That fateful weekend was a three-day weekend which gave him time to drive the twelve hour trip home and get back to school again, Kaylin's parents would be in town, and he was pretty much going to burst if he didn't get home to see her this weekend. He had no money, and what little money he did have he used to buy a ring.--though I have no doubt she would have said yes even without a ring! But Mac made sure it was perfect for her.
So he left at nine o'clock Friday morning. The first leg of the trip, which should have taken him to Boise in five hours, instead took eight. Driving in an old Mazda pick-up truck with an engine that was overheating, Mac stopped six times before finally getting to Boise. A few times he pulled over just to let the engine cool a bit. A few times he stopped at auto part stores, using what little money he had left to replace a few parts--apparently he knows how to use much more than just a screw driver. :) However, that old truck needed a lot more help than Mac could do out there on the road all by himself. Unwilling to give up or turn back, and unsatisfied with any other options, he resolved to go slow enough so that the engine wouldn't overheat. It was getting late, it was getting dark, it was cold and he was headed straight for the Blue Mountains, which were covered in snow.
With a worried family--three sisters, parents and grandparents all included--countless phone calls were made to be sure he was safe. We thought we were going to help him stay awake at the wheel...because we learned that when you can't go faster than fifty five miles an hour, a drive that usually takes twelve hours stretches out to be more like twenty hours! Yes, twenty hours that good man spent, alone in that little old truck, all six feet two inches of him cramped into the tiny cab, with no real radio to mention, and no guarantee that he would make it. But he really didn't need us calling and talking his ear off--his adrenalin was keeping him going and his mind was forming the words he would say at six o'clock the next morning when he surprised Kaylin at her bedroom window.
The saga of that trip culminated with a shoe thrown at Kaylin's window once again, only this time when she met Mac outside, he was down on one knee.
Now they are preparing to be sealed in the Seattle Temple on April 22nd. A what a glorious day that will be!
I am so grateful for my brother, and for his example. He knows how to love with his whole heart and has already dedicated everything he has to building a life with the woman he loves. What a great way to begin together--what a great legacy to share with their children.