verb \ ˈsē \
to perceive; to come to know
I wrote Chasing the Merry-Go-Round because I wanted to tell my brother’s story. I wanted people to see what life is like for someone like him. I also wrote this book because my brother changed how I see people. In fact, one of the early working titles of my manuscript included the tag line, “How My Brother Taught Me To See.”
Although it has taken me a lifetime with Bobby to learn this lesson, and I’m still learning today, there was a moment of revelation that I distinctly remember. In the chapter titled “Treasure” of Chasing, I recount the day I realized that I needed to see differently. Bobby and I were in the middle of one of our checking-in-at-the-end-of-the-day phone conversations:
I was on the couch watching television, half-listening to Bobby on the phone, when he started to tell me about the great deal he got on a used stereo and speakers for twenty-five dollars at the thrift store.
“Bob! Why? Why would you spend your money on a stereo? You already have two.” I rolled my eyes and threw my head back in frustration.
“Yeah, but this one was nicer. Once I get it working, I’ll sell the other two.”
“Don’t you think you should save your money for groceries or rent?”
“You know, with the small life I have, things like this make me happy.”
His last line stopped me in my tracks. He was right. I was wrong. Who was I to judge what made him happy? Who was I to judge someone with a different-sized life than mine? Used stereos and speakers from the thrift store were a waste of money to me, but to Bobby they brought happiness. He loved a deal. He loved finding treasure in what other people considered junk. He loved the challenge of fixing something that was broken.
If you read our story in Chasing, I hope you will see differently as well. I hope you will see and understand people like my brother, to challenge our cultural norms and how we expect people to behave and act. I hope you will begin to think twice before you judge someone who isn’t living their life the way you think they should—whether it’s a family member, a stranger in the grocery story or a man on a corner holding a sign.