Happy Birthday to my brother, my best man, my best friend, my best ping-pong adversary, Josiah C. P. Smith. What a fine man you are, Josiah. You have gone from being a little kid I used to grow ulcers over to a man I admire, respect, and want to emulate in so many ways.
You are a rare combination of unbelievable giftedness with believable humility. You are practically my definition of a good man. And you would be the first to acknowledge that God has given you all that you have. I’m glad he has.
I love playing music with you –one of the happiest collaborations of my life. I love playing sports with you, though the one thing I thought I was better than you at is now in very grave doubt. (How dare you beat me at ping-pong?!) I love being in community with you, in membership with you, in a family with you. Being around so many Smiths yesterday made me realize that you seem to have most of the good qualities of our family and very few of the bad ones. Your grandparents have been, and no doubt are, proud to see you out in the world with their blood in your body.
I’m delighted to say your name every day as I speak to my son. I pray he will be a man like you.
I know you are enduring a very hard providence right now. I pray God gives you strength to carry on and perhaps an unlooked for turn in the direction of hope. I am always on your side, till the sun breaks through the clouds again, or to the end of doom. I’m your man.
I could say more. I won’t, except this: I love you and I always will.