I want you to meet Henry. This is Henry.
He used to be a hole-in-the-wall.
The reason we have Henry is because we found a leak on the outside of our house and the warranty we bought when we bought our home, doesn’t cover anything on the OUTSIDE. I will spare you the rant and the details about the warranty, believe me I could go on for lots of words. Well, I called my brother. Yep, my brother Eric who lives less than 4 miles from me, because he seems to always know what to do. Eric cut a huge hole in the wall and found the leak and fixed it for less than $50. It was amazing to me, to say the least.
Well, every time I see Henry, I think of my brother. Every time my 2-year-old sees Henry she says, “Uncle Eric fixed for us!” It makes my heart happy. Not because Eric is filled with knowledge of how to fix things, but because of what it means to me.
Eric and I have always been close. We have always had a bond. It is hard to describe really. We were two siblings that happen to be willing to listen to each other and spent a lot of time together, despite the almost 10 year age difference. Growing up I always looked up to him and wanted to see what he was doing. He spent a lot of time outside fixing things, but I have never really been good at fixing anything. I am good at helping Eric though. I can get a tool, I can hold something and I can start the car when he is making sure he fixed a car right. He has also always had an uncanny ability to help others. Whether it is fixing or helping or listening or being able to have all the family history stories in his head. He really is amazing. He won’t tell you that he is amazing though, so I will!
Eric works for an airline and while I was growing up and he had “left”home he would work 4 days on and 3 days off. He would come home a lot for those days off and we would be buddies. I would always try to tag along, but realized that I couldn’t always. But I figured I could learn something from him. I learned how to reload bullets, wrote out all of his checks for him, ironed his clothes, learned how to drive a stick shift when I was 14, went on TONS of adventures in the desert with him, shot a lot of bullets with him, and spent lots of late nights talking together. One thing we seemed to always do was load up and head out for a drive. Sometimes we would go to our regular target shooting spot and then drive for hours through the desert with no where particular to go. We spent a lot of time talking as we bumped through the hills and listened to a lot of classic Billy Joel songs. The time is a treasure to me. I am sure that he got sick of me sometimes, but I loved it. Sometimes I didn’t know if we would make it home in one piece, but we always seemed to.
As we both got older, we would still make time to see each other. We always had late night talks and I loved getting his insight on things. He truly was a good friend and still is. He was always the one I would go to to talk about things in life. He was always so giving to others as well. He was close to both sets of our grandparents in ways that I am sure I will never know. He used to spend summers with my Grandma and Grandpa DeMille and it is amazing now to hear the stories from those summers and to hear about all the information he learned from that time. When my Grandma and Grandpa Nelson moved closer to his home, he always made time to go and help out or just to be with them. He was and is always a force for good where ever he goes.
When I flew home from a mission for my church, he had an outpatient surgery in the morning and then drove 4 hours to be there when I arrived. I moved in with him after my mission when I found a job and it was fun to see his kindness in action again. His kindness didn’t just stop with family. He lives in a neighborhood where there are a lot of “grandmas and grandpas”. In the winter he wouldn’t just snow blow his drive way, but like 5 other people’s driveways because he wanted to make sure that they were able to get out. He was good friends with one set of neighbors and they invited him over to Sunday dinner, like every week. He went to all of their family get togethers and loved to help them out as well. He is always out serving to help someone else out.
When I moved to a neighboring state, Eric loaded up his truck and drove me there and then helped move me to another state after less than 2 years. He is just that kind of person, through and through. And you better believe that when I started dating Scott seriously, it was Eric who was asking all of the important questions! The crazy thing was that Eric started dating Denise (his wife now!) shortly after I started dating Scott. It was Eric that Scott was more nervous about meeting the first time! It was fun to be at the same point in our lives as we continued to move forward, we had MANY late night talks around this time. I remember staying up late with him the night before I got married and talking about how even though things were changing, we always needed to help out each other and to be able to give to those around us.
When he married is wonderful wife, Denise, the ability to help people out multiplied. Now they work together and serve so many people, it makes my head spin. We also have kids around the same age and that has been fun too. Then when we were going to buy our house, I called Eric again and again and again…and I am sure that I will call him again because he told me I should.
I am so, so grateful for Eric. Not just because of all the things that he has done to help me out, but for being a great example of kindness in action in his whole life. I love that my home has little things to remind me of certain people and certain times of life. But I love most of all, Henry and that my kids can see their Uncle Eric is a “helper” not just to us but to so many. I am not ready to paint over Henry, I still have a lot to learn about kindness and helping others.