Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Big Brother Pelham

"… but there's a friend who sticks closer than a brother"- Prv. 18:24 I have three wonderful big brothers: Pelham, 9 years older, Marc, 7 years older and Bob, 4 years older. They all have been awesome encouragers and supporters to me over the years. Siblings are God's gift to mold and spur us on to be more than we would be by ourselves. The four of us are very different, but we share the common denominator of being Staples' brothers. My oldest brother Pelham was my "true" Big Brother. When we'd divide up into 2 teams to play basketball, I was always on his team. It was Pel (what we called him) and Joey against Marc and Bob. And I loved knowing that Pel "had my back." If Bob or Marc messed with me, it was Pel who stepped in to say, "Huh, is there a problem here?" I felt so secure when I was standing or playing next to Pel. That's why brothers (and sisters) were invented. They are God's reminder that He has our back and desires to use those closest to us to be His hands in the process. I always looked up to Pel. He was a great athlete and went on to play football at SMU in the late 70's when they were an awesome powerhouse team! And he tried lots of "cool" stuff as he figured out his career path: He worked for an exterminating company, he went to Officers Candidate School in the Marines, and he even went to FBI school for a while. Then finally, he became a physician. And to top it all off, I remember him taking me for a drive in his gold Malibu as he played "Blood, Sweat and Tears" music for me on his 8-track. Oh my gosh…I really thought I was special. I'm in Houston this week at M.D. Anderson Hospital with my brother Pel as he's fighting yet another battle against cancer. He was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and has grown a little weaker with each skirmish. This may be his last fight. But he's had these battles before and always prevailed. As I'm sitting in his crowded hospital room, I look around at Pel's sons who are here: Pell (the 4th), Scott and Alex. They are great kids and close brothers. It reminds me that the cycle starts all over again. That's what families do. That's what brothers and sisters do- they pass it on. So, thank you Pel for being such an awesome Big Brother. Thanks for sticking up for me and protecting me. Thanks for all the phone calls over the years. To some, it may have appeared that all we talked about was football. But what you were really doing was reminding me that I was OK. You were telling me again that you "had my back." I hope you win this latest battle. But, win or not, I pray you rest in the arms of the dearest Father of all, …God Himself. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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