When I speak of older brothers I am not referring to the brothers who preside over the governing boards and lead the brotherhood, but to the oldest, the eldest; I like to call them that way, neither third age, nor second youth, nor silver age or any other name that tries to disguise reality. Language does not create realities.
From the tribune of the years the older brothers acquire sufficient perspective to be able to contemplate life, the life of the brotherhood and its life, with special lucidity provided that they meet two conditions: reflective experience and analytical criteria.
I say reflective experience because if you do not reflect on the different circumstances and situations you have experienced, you cannot say that you have experience, you have simply experienced things that have slipped through your fingers like water through a stone. criteria for analysis, a model of values and beliefs in which to fit the events that make up his biography.
This interior pondering of all the events in which they have been protagonists or spectators endows the Elder Brothers with a special serenity and freedom. By recovering or strengthening their principles, they reinforce their identity in a way that no totalitarian or populist gale will be able to annul. In short: are freer. From the serenity of maturity, understand freedom as the ability to love more and to love less. to his own and to his brotherhood. Y more loyalbecause fidelity is the word love in time and has already been proven.
With freedom they reinforce their hope, strength and courage. They have not come this far to long for the past, but to create the future and they apply themselves to it with audacity, without excusing themselves for their age, reinforcing the doctrinal foundations of their brotherhood and daring to innovate, to be disruptive, aware that it is precisely the older ones who, because of their experience, have the greatest capacity for innovation.
They also have other distinguishing features:
Simplify, sThey learn what is fundamental, what must be demanded without giving in, and what is accessory. They discover that what is fundamental are a few things that refer to values, focusing on these, so they and others enjoy themselves and others more.
They know how to pass to a second or third plane, they rejoice with the successes of the younger brothers of the new government boards, without claiming, or even thinking, about the part that corresponds to them in that success.
They naturally carry their "backpack", which life has been filling with disappointments, betrayals and absences. They also carry their mistakes and the harm they may have caused to others. They do not carry it with resignation, but with the joy of those who know they are children of God and trust in Him.
Their dreams no longer have them as protagonists, but those to come.
There is a passage in the Gospel that seems to be dedicated expressly to the older brothers: the episode of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They have lost their illusions. Discouraged, without horizons, they return home. Jesus stands beside them, although they do not recognize him, he speaks to them and makes them recover their hope. Towards the end of the road, He made a gesture to go on. But they forced him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is evening and the day is far spent. (St. Luke, 24).
And he stayed. And their lives were changed, and they returned to Jerusalem with joy, to begin again.
The sun also sets on the lives of older siblings. They have had the opportunity to live the dawn of childhood and youth and have passed the bright hours of noon, of maturity. It is time to return home in peace and quiet, to meet oneself and others, in the depths of affection, of the good done and received, of the serene acceptance of successes and failures.
It is never too late to live the best of life; it is never too late to, like those on the road to Emmaus, say to Jesus and his Mother: stay with us!to become a permanent support for others, knowing how to stand in the background to actively contemplate the sunset of a day that is a joyful eve of those to come and that you will see from another perspective.
It is necessary to approach them and the treasure that they represent in the brotherhood. They really are the authentic elder brothers.
D. in Business Administration. Director of the Instituto de Investigación Aplicada a la Pyme. Eldest Brother (2017-2020) of the Brotherhood of the Soledad de San Lorenzo, in Seville. He has published several books, monographs and articles on brotherhoods.