Kenbe and Sam

Kenbe and Sam

I guess we have come to take this scene for granted in our family: brotherly love abounds.

As we pulled into my sister’s driveway in Nashville my grandson Sam made a curious remark: “I lost my scream.” We think he meant he was trying his best to withhold his usual squeal of excitement since he was in the car, but it was taking all his strength. He could barely wait to see his cousin Kenbe.

Kenbe has been a family member for four years, after spending his first two years of life in Haiti. My sister Elizabeth and her husband Jason completed a medical adoption process with Kenbe that included multiple eye surgeries, a below the knee amputation, and the ongoing process of getting prostheses fitted and adjusted. There is so much more story but that is their story to tell.

The whole family is part of Kenbe’s life in our small ways, but no one gets more excited to be together than Kenbe and Sam. They have been instant buddies since their first meeting. They miss each other when apart, and treasure the time together when we finally bring them back close. They hug. They share toys, most of the time. They tell stories of what they are experiencing and only try to outdo each other some of the time. “I got to go to the park today.” “Well I got to take Rocky our puppy to our park.” The competition is gentle.

Today I watched these two guys doing their brotherly love thing. They are too young to know that they are showing us the way the world was meant to be. The photo above says it all.

Without effort they simply love, including the normal little conflicts that real human beings have. They share everything they can think to tell the other one of what’s happening in each of their lives. They show each other what they know. They help each other learn to play their games. They take turns, with only a little difficulty. I believe you call this cooperation. They talk abut their friends, their schools, and openly relate whatever pops into their minds.

The hug when they reunite is genuine. The sadness when they part is too. I believe Dr. Brene’ Brown calls this whole-hearted living. It’s a fancy name for living with an open heart, which youngsters seem to do innately.

Today two short young men were my teachers, again. May the world they create every time they come together be the world we all learn to create after we are young. Let’s start now.


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through; and of a blog on, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (, adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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3 Responses to Kenbe and Sam

  1. Rhea Snyder says:

    Amen William. Those two have it right

  2. Bill Rogers says:

    William, thanks for posting this story. I have enjoyed knowing more about the relationship between Sam and Kenbe. My exposure to the two of them is limited.

    • soulcare4u says:

      You are welcome Bill. The pic showed what they demonstrate every time. “We are just two kids and we love playing.” (There was that one time a few years back when Sam saw Kenbe take off his leg for the first time and asked me in private: “Is he a robot?”)

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