In the past, when asked about Brother… specifically with respect to both its inspiration and meaning… I have often shied away from responding. The story of the song’s origin… one of betrayal… is a truly personal one for me, my family and my loved ones spanning well over a decade and touching the lives of many innocents along the way. Fortunately for most involved, there has been a reconciliation that has given me both an inner strength and peace and has enabled most of us in recent years to move on. But for others who have been touched by this tragedy, betrayal’s impact still lingers and may never fully go away.
Betrayal is a brutal force that bludgeons both one’s spirit and soul. It is an indescribable heartache that visits you unexpectedly and lingers long beyond its apportioned time. Furthermore, betrayal never comes into one’s life alone. It is usually accompanied by its trusted accomplices… lies and deceit… thereby clouding the truth of the matter even further. And many surrounding innocents often and unwittingly become collateral damage of this unfortunate tragedy; sometimes because they feel compelled to take sides; other times, because they simply happen to be in life’s way.
Most of us have been betrayed at some point in our lives. Blessed are those among us who have not. For some, it was a college student waking up on a gray February morning only to learn that his girlfriend had not been faithful to him and to the sanctity of their relationship. For others, it was an entrepreneur hearing a trusted business associate and close friend… a person whom he stood by and supported during good times and bad… bearing false witness against him. And then there is the man whose only sin was to extend a helping hand and comforting word to a loved one during a time of personal and financial need. On these three occasions betrayal has visited me in my life. And by far and away, family betrayal is the most emotionally devastating. The first two are heartaches you carry privately and alone. But the last is a heartache you carry publicly and with others… most, if not all, of whom are your close family and intimate friends.
This is truly a cautionary tale. To those of you tempted to invite betrayal into your lives, think again. For you run the risk of inflicting a deep, lasting and possibly mortal wound into the hearts of loved ones… innocent victims all whose only sin was to exist within the shadow of someone else’s deceit.