My brother Bobby recently celebrated his 55th birthday. And while I wasn't able to be with him, I know he was in the company of friends who love and accept him unconditionally.

Bobby is very special to me as he was diagnosed as a young adult of having Schizophrenia. It was a very scary time for our family back then, and we were confused and frightened as Bobby went from being a normal, active, happy kid, to being paranoid, confused and exhibiting violent behavior. My heart was tied to my parents as they were on a mission to find proper medical support that would offer Bobby a “normal” life. But as the years went by and reality took hold, that “normal” life was not going to be in Bobby’s future.

As I grew older, married and had children of my own I began to look at my brother differently. Maturity set in, as well as my open-mindedness. By now, Bobby was on the correct medicine that helped alter his paranoid state where he was able to adapt to social culture with acceptance from the outside world. As my fear from his new reality eased, I began to realize the gift that Bobby received and is giving out to others while living with his diagnosis. Bobby only lives in the present moment. He doesn’t create stories and worry about the future, and he doesn’t look at all that has happened to him and place blame, criticize or be the victim.

Bobby is happy and grateful for simple things like a place to live, a comfortable bed to sleep, warm meals, having a TV so he won’t miss a Red Sox game, and having meaningful conversations with friends and staff in the group home where he lives. When I listen to Bobby’s perspective on life, I am always taken aback at how enlightened he is without even realizing it. Or maybe it’s just me realizing we all have a choice in life, and Bobby chose peace.

Bobby is one of my greatest teachers. His life’s purpose is showing me the meaning of life. And brings up some important questions.

1 Are we truly living life according to our purpose?

2 Do we love those we care about without judgment?

3 Are we making a difference in other people’s lives, by being who we are meant to be?

Bobby is doing all of these. and I want to thank you Bobby for showing me the power of compassion for others, love and forgiveness.

Author's Bio: 

Donna Markussen of, has a passion for helping others find their soul's purpose, living their passion, practicing being mindful of the choices in order to live an authentic, meaningful, life.