Tuesday, June 23, 2020

We can overcome life’s tragedies with the help of a friend

People decide to mentor for many reasons. We asked Brenda to share her story, because we know her passion and caring.  She wants the women she mentors to succeed. She not only mentors with us but she does bible study in the women’s prisons.  She also chose to join the board and help build up Trusted Mentors to succeed into the future. Here’s Brenda’s story:   

I didn’t go to college right out of high school as I was going to “take the year off and do my own thing”.  I was literally wasting my life away.  A friend of a friend came to my house, sat me down in front of my parents and told me that I was too smart and had way too much potential to waste.  He insisted that I go to college so he paid for my first semester of school – tuition and books!  He even went so far as to take me to school every day the first week to make sure I went.  Eventually I earned degrees in Business Administration and Theology and I was going to graduate but before graduation day came, my friend was murdered.  I opted out of walking across the stage to receive my diploma because he wasn’t going to be there to see it.  The celebration wouldn’t be as glorious.  

 Three months passed and I was scheduled to do chapel service with my pastor at the jail one Sunday and his murderer was ON THE FRONT ROW of the service!  I was angry.  I was furious!  How dare he sit there in jail?  (Silly, I know.  Hurt and anger are not rational) I refused to do the serve but my pastor wouldn’t have it – he made me serve anyway.  I’m grateful he did – he reminded me that service isn’t about me.  During that hour I saw the MAN – not the murderer - that was the act - what he had done – I saw the MAN – the broken, angry, scared, MAN.  A father.  A son.  A brother.  A nephew.  A grandson.  I prayed with him that evening.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  I didn’t tell him my story then but the chaplain apparently told him some time later and a few weeks later we briefly wrote back and forth and I told him my story.  He told me he made a mistake that will now affect him and his family for the rest of his life.  He told me he reacted in the heat of the moment and out of fear/panic.  He asked me not to let what he did destroy the good that my friend started in me.  He asked me to do something to help others – whatever that may be.  

 People ask me why I decided to become a volunteer mentor – this is why.  I do it to carry on the legacy of someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself; I do it to lift up and help someone who is struggling to rebuild their life after a mistake, addiction, tragedy or catastrophic loss.  I have learned that we can overcome life shattering tragedies when we have the support of a good friend; love is not color blind but honors and celebrates our differences and our similarities; people united and focused on a common goal are an unstoppable force.  

 I joined the board of Trusted Mentors for the same reason I became a mentor.  I truly believe in changing our city – one person at a time.  #changetheworld #mentorsmatter #trustedmentors