Be Advised: To Hope Evermore (A Tribute to Andre)


Because we care, people will say we are weak. Pitiful, sympathetic, too feeling, too nice, overly empathic are all terms that typify those who really value people. Their value for people will often extend far beyond their physical, emotional, and mental capacity.

This care quality is the last we all see, and simultaneously the first thing we all need.
My cousin and little brother Andre graduated yesterday from high school.

As I observed the various warm wishes, there was a unanimous view that Andre has humility. He embodies a genuine concern for other people.

His concern teaches me still. And we should be advised to share his light.

Discretion. My aunt, Andre’s mother, had the biggest film collection when I grew up years ago. Over much time, she had recorded movies from a vast array of cable stations–HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime.

My cousins then, cousins just like Andre, seized several opportunities to “steal” these VHS tapes from my aunt’s room often. To visit her room was to gain entry into a huge rated R movie. Yes, her room was like a huge candy jar. Regrettably, I was often left to feel the wrath of my aunt because I walked slow. My cousins would outrun me before she made it home.

“Viewer discretion advised” was the common clause from the TV when we popped in every movie we’d “steal”.

Now that I’m older, I understand that discretion means separation, difference, and “apart from”.

Andre, graduating there, reminded me in his way, that it’s okay and often freeing to be separate. Unlike him, I didn’t have the support of band geeks and a community of CARE-ers on my side.

He’s reminded me everyday that it’s okay to be odd, unique, and wonderful. You can be complicated yet important to someone. And I remembered myself then, 16 years ago, worrying of growing up, struggling to feign maturity.

I can only hope that —-seeing him graduate — I have advised him fairly, cared enough genuinely, forgiven readily. I hope every more that my words: “Continue in patience, and never fear of asking questions” —mean that he’ll be an even greater adult in this confused, uncaring, universe.

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