Through Pain Comes Discipline

I hadn’t seen my older brother in months. My parents and brothers were all home, a rarity since James joined the Marines. I remember I was in our kitchen, looking in the refrigerator for food. James walked into the room, shirtless.

My brother is 5’10 and 170 pounds. He is a U.S. Marine, and he’s got has pectorals like Jason Statham. He also has four tattoos: on his back, right shoulder, across his chest, and down his side. I had a sudden urge to put on a shirt.

His first tattoo was the one across his shoulder blades saying: “Through Pain Comes DISCIPLINE.” He had just finished the 13 weeks of grueling Marine basic training.

I remember driving through the swamps of South Carolina to pick him up from the Marine base on Parris Island. He was dressed in a tan military uniform and hat. He wore thick, standard-issue glasses (trainees aren’t allowed to wear contacts).

I watched him talking to my parents. Confidence steeled his backbone and planted his feet to the ground like pillars.

“Some of the guys complained about doing push-ups, but I didn’t,” he said. “I liked them.”

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