Church Assembly talk: Logan Kreinz '18
My whole life I have always pretended everything is good. I would tell myself it was all going great whenever I didn't want to face a problem. If I never confronted the problem and pretended that things were going great, then reality couldn't catch up. However, last summer I realized you can't run from reality forever.
Last July I went on a trip of a lifetime—a life-changing retreat—climbing a mountain. From sea level to the summit it was 10,000 feet. I was with my ten best friends, two guides, and two adult leaders. One of the leaders was a 43-year-old woman whose only purpose on the trip seemed to be for me to carry her backpack. However, her true purpose became clear when we reached the summit.I was sitting on top of a mountain sharing my life story with the group. After I finished, the 43-year-old-woman, who happened to be my little sister's 7th grade teacher, took me aside and asked me a simple question. She asked, "How do you think your relationship is with your little sister?" I responded with, "Oh, it's great! I love Ells.She's so much fun to be around." The woman got very quiet, and I could tell something was on her mind. Then she said, "I just thought that you needed to hear this. She wrote a paper this year about how she wishes you two were closer. She said you leaving for school was the hardest thing she ever had to deal with, and she asked why you were never involved in her life."
Man. That was the most painful thing anyone has ever told me. The person I cared for most in my family, my little sister. I was hurting her the most. Here I was, literally having a peak experience, and instead it was the worst low point in my life.
That night I slept out by myself, under the skies of British Columbia with millions of stars above me. I just thought about the person I was, and I desperately tried to find the person I wanted to be moving forward. Looking back on my actions over the last four years, I was embarrassed at the older brother I had been. My whole life I have been Drake and Austin's little brother. I focused all of my energy on living up to them, and I forgot I was still an older brother to Noah and Ella.
From my side, I was perfect. Everything was going great! Or so I told myself. From her side, though, not so great. I wouldn't take her out to lunch, I wouldn't go to her dance recitals, I wouldn't even talk to her. I was so used to pretending problems didn't exist, I didn't see that I was the problem. I wasn't showing up for my little sister.
I never told anyone what happened up on that mountain. But after that night of thinking, I just told myself that my sister would never have to ask, "Does Logan even like me?" When the trip ended and we got our phones back, the first person I texted was the baby of the family, Princess Ella. I returned home with three weeks until I was due back at the Abbey. I devoted the time I had left to being the older brother I should have been for the last 18 years.
We went out to lunch, to the local Culver's in town. We sat down and treated ourselves to the world's best butter burgers and Wisconsin famous cheese curds. I asked her about her crush—to which she said "No one," and I said "Good"—because I really didn't feel like bundling a 7th grader. I even spent two weeks learning a dance routine with her. If you ever wanted to know where my quick feet came from, I can take you through some tap dance drills. AND DO NOT ask to see the dance because I made her promise to never show anyone that video.
Ella had a lot more to teach me than just a few dance moves, though. She opened my eyes to what a sister can bring you. When I would hang out with the BOYS in the family, everything was a competition. She showed me that it's not always about winning, but about making memories. We went mini golfing, just us two. I missed a few putts and I was getting very angry. I used some salty language on the course. And she just says, "Logan, chill. It's mini golf." I couldn't help but laugh. It is amazing what a little sister's point of view can show you.
She showed me that you need to make sacrifices for the people you care about. Yes, I spent a little less time with my friends. But when she wrote me a letter for my birthday thanking me for being there and spending time with her over the summer, it gave me a sense of purpose and meaning I had been lacking.
What I have learned is that things aren't always great. If you think so, you may need somebody else's perspective to show you what you can't see, even from a mountaintop. But then you can try to at least make things better. You still have time to hike down and take care of what you left behind. We can all be that friend, teammate, spouse, or big brother that the people around you deserve.