The Commerce Journal

May 4, 2012

Me and my shadow: growing up with a twin

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — For those who don’t know me personally, I have an identical twin brother named Joshua who works for the Northeast Texas Boys & Girls Club and is attending Criswell College in Dallas. Josh and I were genetically tested when we were younger, and it turns out that we are as close to 100 percent identical as you can get. We pretty much always looked alike, and we were inseparable. As we got older, adults always had a good deal of difficulty telling us apart. Usually, they would identify us by the color of our shoes (black for me, white for Josh) or by a mole that I have on the bottom of my chin. Sometimes, they would just call us Josh-Caleb or simply “twin” to avoid confusion. It never really bothered me much to be confused for Josh, but I think it really annoyed Josh. After we got into high school, he began to try and look as different than me as possible- wearing glasses and a beard when I had neither, and then later reverting to contacts when I had to get glasses. Establishing your identify as a person is difficult, but it’s compounded when you have a brother that looks, sounds and often acts just like you.

Despite our similarities, Josh and I ended up having very different interests. I moved to Commerce to study journalism, while Josh stayed at home and commuted to Criswell to earn a degree in biblical studies with a double  minor in philosophy and student ministry. For the first time in our lives, we were the only one in our respective areas, and no one knew we had a twin.

It’s funny how things change over time. Now Josh and I look a lot alike, and neither of us really care when people confuse us. Our friends in Dallas and Commerce are always shocked when they meet our twin, and it’s amusing to see their reaction. When I worked with Josh at the Boys & Girls Club last summer, the students were almost constantly amazed at how closely we resembled each other.

Now that we’re in separate worlds, Josh and I really enjoy hanging out with each other. Once, he drove all the way from Dallas to my house in Commerce in under an hour just to watch a comedy special by one of  our favorite comedians. All of my friends in Commerce who have met him are always struck by how easy going and personable he is.

Josh has a real heart for people, as evidenced by his both his job and his volunteer work at Authentic Life Fellowship. It seems like people who need a friend are drawn to my brother, and he has the patience and love for them that they need. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who gives as much of himself as unconditionally as Josh does.

He preached his first Sunday morning sermon last week at Authentic Life, and he presented a very well-thought out and well-researched message on grace. It was clear to all of us that heard him that Josh is destined for some great things.

As much as Josh means to other people, there’s a special bond that we share as twins, and I’m honored that is my brother and best friend.