Thursday, March 14, 2019

Two brothers

Logan's younger brother Nolan was a really nice kid, but he struggled with depression. Despite psychological counseling, nothing helped. He could never put his finger on why he felt that-he just did. He couldn't control it. He couldn't make it go away. Like trying to shake his own shadow. Much of the time he was borderline suicidal.

The only thing that kept him from going over the edge was Logan's constant companionship. He really needed his brother's emotional support.

But depression feeds on itself. He kept comparing himself to his big brother. Logan was so strong and confident. Nolan felt he was a drag factor, holding him back. Logan could go so much further in life if he wasn't tethered to his chronically depressed, suicidal brother. At least that's what Nolan thought.

One day they had a conversation. Logan said that was the wrong way to view it. For one thing, Nolan's depression made them so much closer. If Nolan was more independent, they might take each other for granted. Logan would rather have a depressed brother he was close to than a normal brother who was distant. That was a precious tradeoff.

What's more, the dynamic was paradoxical. Logan was stronger, but he was stronger because he was happy, and he was happy because he had a brother to love, and love him back. So Nolan's weakness was a hidden source of Logan's strength. Logan was happier than Nolan because he had Nolan in his life. They were linked by an unseen lifeline. If Nolan ever killed himself, Logan would begin to die inside.

That was a revelation to Nolan. It never occurred to him. After that, he was still depressed, but no longer as depressed.


  1. Such a good story. In the best and fullest sense. Pitch perfect.

    In addition, the story reminds me of the relationship between John Newton and William Cooper.

    Not to mention the relationship between certain characters in The Pilgrim's Progress. On the one hand, Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Valiant-for-truth. On the other hand, Mr. Fearing, Mr. Feeble-mind, or at times Christian himself. Such as when Christian was trapped in the dungeon underneath Doubting Castle by Giant Despair.

    1. Refresh my memory, Epistle. Was that when Christian was losing hope and the will to persevere and fight, where his companion had to encourage him, when it was usually the other way round?

      Such a beautiful book. Makes we want to grab it and read it again.

    2. Hi Danny,

      I think you're right - Christian and Hopeful were imprisoned in Doubting Castle by Giant Despair! :)

      Desiring God put out a good edition of the first part of The Pilgrim's Progress (here). See page 127ff for this particular story. (It'd be nice if they could publish a second part as well. Not sure if they have, or if not, why not.)

      In addition, you might enjoy C.S. Lewis's "The Vision of John Bunyan".

    3. That's it! One of many piercing, agonising scenes. Such a great book.

      Allow me to apologise for being unclear, Epistle. I have the book. I own a 1988 edition. I was being terribly lazy and simply asked you to confirm the scene for me instead of grabbing the book and searching myself :)

      I shall give 'The Vision of John Bunyan' a read. I have not read that. Thanks, Epistle. You're a gentleman.

    4. Lol! Well, if I'm a gentleman, then you must be royalty! :)

      However, maybe we could consider forming a league of extraordinary gentlemen!

    5. Oh my... What gave me away?! :)

      Excellent idea!