If you are ever going to love me,
Love me now, while I can know
The sweet and tender feelings
Which from true affection flow.
Love me now
While I am living.
Do not wait until I’m gone
And then have it chiselled in marble,
Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me,
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I’m sleeping,
Never to awaken,
There will be death between us,
And I won’t hear you then.
So if you love me, even a little bit,
Let me know it while I’m living
So I can treasure it.
Robert Paul Moreno
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…
In this verse from The Bible, it is this love between brothers and sisters that we are encouraged to weave into the fabric of our lives.
When an ancient Greek scholar was writing on the love siblings have for each other, he explained that our parents gave this type of love to us. We were created brothers and sisters. All faithful parents encourage their children to love each other – and ours certainly did that. And if the siblings nourish this love they will, for the rest of their lives, find a fulfillment… a union with each other that will provide strength and peace as their days pass by. He also said that children who love each other honour their parents by that love, and in that love their parents seem ever present even after death.
It is the same with our spiritual family. God our Father has made us a family, and throughout the Bible He encourages our love for each other. When we love each other we honour Him and He is present in our love…
I love my sister very much.
She is an incredible lady. She was born exactly eighteen months after me. I was born in October 1950 and she was born in May 1952. We had just moved into the simple council house on a new estate in the north of Cardiff. The roads were unmade and the midwife had trouble finding and reaching our home, but she was safely delivered and after two boys, our parents were naturally delighted to have a little girl to care for and bring up. Our dad always told us when his precious little girl was born he walked around singing the old Christian song “Joy, joy my heart is full of joy!’
It was natural then that she was named Joy, (Joy Elaine Newberry) as our parents felt she would bring joy into their lives and our family. She has done that since the day she joined our family.
We grew up and had an idyllic childhood.
We had many friends in our street and played games safely in our garden, in friends’ gardens, out in the street and up in the local fields and woods. We always felt safe and each evening returned home to a house and family which overflowed with love.
When my dad bought a motorbike and sidecar, John, as the eldest, had a ride on the back of the motorbike; mum was in the front seat of the sidecar and Joy and I were squashed in the back seat of the sidecar side by side. We had such fun, never complained and the vibrations stayed with us for about an hour after every journey.
We lived simply yet always had a holiday every year sometimes only going as far as Fontygary just passed Barry. The love and magic of travelling has stayed with us all ever since.
We walked together to our first school, Rhydypennau Primary School, which was quite a long walk from our house. The walk took us up a narrow path between some allotments and under a railway arch. We always looked out for each other. We would sometimes stop and buy sweets in Workman’s Shop or The Salad Bowl, but this did not happen often, as we were quite poor in those days. Dad was a simple carpenter and my mum was a part time dressmaker and part time dinner lady in our school. I remember going with her some days and being given the job of filling the salt cellars, which we had on the tables.
In 1959 a new school opened very near our home and so we joined Coed Glas Primary School the day it opened. Everything was new. It was wonderful. We had roller blackboards, which I remember no one really knew how to use.
John, Joy and I now had a much shorter walk to school.
Joining High School meant a time of separation. I passed the eleven plus examination and was sent off to Grammar School in Penylan. By the time Joy reached Standard 4, the examination had been scrapped and she joined the local Heol Hir Girls’ School. We were still incredibly close and were a part of a fantastic Young Peoples’ Group in our local church. Her friends were my friends and mine hers.
Joy married a couple of years before me and started her great adventure with Doug in the early 1970s.
They had three boys and while I am sure she would have loved a little girl, she was grateful to God for her precious sons.
Her love for them (her boys!!) has become legendary and she is fiercely loyal and protective of them. It’s the same powerful love she has for us as her brothers too!
When we first married all three of us, John, Joy and I and our spouses moved up to the South Wales Valleys, as housing was more affordable. Here we remained close and attended the same church in Blackwood. We were mentored here by a wonderfully godly couple called Arthur and Barbara Parker.
These were precious times we were able to enjoy together.
Gradually, we all moved back towards Cardiff and different homes and different churches in different towns and villages, meant we saw a little less of each other but regular visits to our parents home in Llanishen meant we remained a close knit and loving family.
During the early days, when our kids were small, we often went on holiday together, usually to France, where our families relaxed and played together and often bought little gifts from dubious looking salesmen on street corners. The echoes of ‘No aqua, No aqua… have followed us down through the years and still causes us to smile.
Joy has always been an incredible sister. She has the biggest heart and many people have been helped and supported by her and Doug.
She has a special way with older people, who adore her kind and generous spirit. She remembers birthdays and often sends them with little treats and presents. She always remembers them at Christmas too! And it’s not just the old folk. Every Christmas she opens her home to the kids of the church and they even get a visit from Santa.
She has a big home and a big heart to match!
During that awful time when we lost dad and mum within four months we all promised to keep the incredible closeness we have as a mark of respect to our beloved parents. I know that will happen because of the wonderful love they shared, which has been passed down to us. Joy has her mum’s heart.
We still live close to each other, still attend the same church, even now we share the same friends. Joy’s friends are my friends, mine hers.
My sister still constantly nags me – but only to arrange a break away somewhere exciting. We are committed to Spain 2015 and she may well join Boo and me as we continue to chase The Northern Lights.
Whatever the future holds I know I have a sister who loves me and looks out for me, a sister whom I love and treasure.
With a friend, it’s a shared experience, with a parent, shared heritage, with a mate, shared love. But with a sister it’s all of these.
I love my sister!