Celebrating Life in Recovery

Writing through their Pain

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Verism Barker


Series Code: CLR

Program Code: CLR000125B

00:01 The following program discusses sensitivity issues
00:03 related to addictive behavior.
00:05 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:13 Welcome back to Celebrating Life.
00:15 We are talking about just loving each other,
00:18 mentorship, grace,
00:20 how do we kind of fit in that relationship
00:23 where we start to change and does God feel the same way?
00:27 Is when we start realizing how much He loves us,
00:30 we start to change in that relationship
00:32 and I'm just crazy about it.
00:35 If God was here, like I've said it million times
00:37 I would kiss Him all over the face
00:38 and just say thank You.
00:40 And so, I want to say hi to you, Verism,
00:44 and I want to just say
00:45 that we talked a lot on the phone
00:48 about another guest that was coming on
00:50 and while we were talking, I fell in love with you.
00:54 Thank you. Thank you. You are welcome.
00:56 And so to me I'd like to have you introduce yourself to us
01:01 but from the beginning like where you from and I want,
01:06 I think I want them to fall in love with you
01:07 in the same way I did.
01:09 Well, I'm Verism Barker.
01:11 I'm originally from South America,
01:13 from Guyana.
01:14 But in reference to what you're saying,
01:17 I am a writer, I am an educator
01:20 and I have had the privilege of working with people
01:23 who needed me.
01:25 I went to South Carolina, I don't know why,
01:29 but I got there and discovered
01:30 that I could actually meet people
01:34 who needed to be employed.
01:37 And I started a janitorial company,
01:40 largely because nobody was employing them.
01:42 So you are talking about there were people
01:44 that you looked at and they said
01:45 because of their background and because of who they are,
01:47 nobody is given them a chance.
01:49 They were excluded. Right.
01:50 Excluded from being employed and so I started this company
01:54 and met some of the most beautiful women
01:58 who sadly, I mean they had several children
02:04 and unfortunately they had no jobs.
02:06 So I started the company and then as I worked with them,
02:09 I realized that they were undereducated as well.
02:14 Yeah, and that wasn't your background
02:16 because you said, you were educated,
02:19 you were writer all that kind of stuff.
02:20 So I want to go back to, were you always a writer?
02:24 I mean, you know,
02:25 where did all of that come from?
02:26 Yes I...
02:28 And why do you have such a big heart?
02:30 I have to say that I was always a writer,
02:32 I've been, I won my first essay
02:34 like I told you when I was eight years old.
02:36 But I come from a country
02:38 that in which we had no televisions.
02:40 So reading was my entertainment.
02:44 And I always read and I guess I had the wildest imagination,
02:47 I always wrote and that followed me,
02:50 I became a writer, I became a journalist,
02:52 a publisher and that's my business.
02:55 So when I was in,
02:57 so when I came to South Carolina,
02:59 I started this program
03:02 which I took at the Seventh-day Adventist church.
03:05 Grammar and writing skills...
03:07 'Cause you're not Adventist, right?
03:08 I'm not Adventist. Okay.
03:09 And I was going to be accepted.
03:11 Why did you choose Adventist church?
03:12 'Cause I'm Adventist.
03:14 Because I shopped in the program around,
03:15 I do not shop as in the sense of looking for money.
03:18 But I felt because there were so many people
03:20 in this specific geographical area
03:22 that was so in need.
03:25 I figured well, going to the churches
03:27 because, you know, everybody goes to church,
03:30 I would meet more people.
03:31 But unfortunately,
03:33 most of them didn't buy the idea.
03:36 And the one church that took me
03:38 was the Seventh-day Adventist church.
03:39 Get on them.
03:41 So I...
03:42 there was a program that they were conducting to
03:44 and they took my writing and my grammar.
03:50 Okay.
03:51 Which is what I did everyday with these women.
03:54 For these women.
03:55 So trying to educate them,
03:57 trying to get them working in their job, right?
04:01 And when I talked about Marcia and Marcia coming into my life
04:05 and just loving me into my own skin,
04:08 I thought about you.
04:12 Yes, and I met several women
04:14 who I ended up becoming their Marcia.
04:19 You know, so many of them had so many deep stories
04:24 that they wanted to tell.
04:26 And they wanted it to be heard
04:27 because they felt that it would be healing
04:30 and mentoring for others
04:32 who had gone through what they went through.
04:34 Can I and I never, you know, I don't know why
04:37 but I just never got to ask my mom or Marcia this, why?
04:44 It's not easy to love us.
04:46 It's not easy to reach into somebody's life
04:48 that is inconsistent, they're acting out,
04:51 they don't know how to respond,
04:52 I don't know how to like, you love me.
04:54 I don't know how to trust, what was that like
04:57 and why did you fight to do that?
05:00 It was difficult.
05:02 It was difficult, yes. You say that so nice.
05:04 I'll be honest it was difficult.
05:06 But I realize that a lot of the pushing away
05:09 wasn't because they wanted to push back.
05:12 A lot of them were scared
05:14 because receiving love was not something that they...
05:18 and I don't think I have the biggest heart.
05:20 But I just felt for me to reach them,
05:23 we have to communicate some hope.
05:26 And in doing that, you know, we meshed...
05:30 Yeah.
05:31 Some of them decided they didn't want the program,
05:34 other stayed and, It didn't work.
05:40 'Cause at sometimes,
05:41 at sometimes they will be angry at you,
05:45 they will lie to you, they'll not show up,
05:47 I mean all of those had things.
05:48 Look I had a lot of that,
05:50 I had a lot of that especially with working...
05:52 Yeah.
05:54 Lots of them after the first check
05:55 wouldn't show up,
05:57 you know, during the work day I would not get a call,
06:00 some people would not show up for work,
06:02 so it was tough.
06:04 But I felt like if I am gonna change it,
06:07 if I am really gonna make a difference.
06:08 I've already started this and I know the need
06:12 and I know, after a while I kind of knew who they were.
06:15 I knew they wanted to change
06:16 but because it was something so different to them.
06:20 So, you know, what's really tough
06:21 when I'm listening to you, Verism,
06:23 I want to, you know,
06:25 I want to look at the camera and just say please,
06:27 if you get this at all,
06:29 if you realize that you could mentor someone
06:32 or you could step into someone's life,
06:33 please do it.
06:34 And it's not easy, it's not anything,
06:36 in the midst of all of the stuff
06:38 that you are doing, trying to get someone employed,
06:40 educated, to be able to receive love
06:43 or just to heal from some of that stuff.
06:45 In the midst of that you have some medical problem.
06:48 Yes. So talk about that.
06:49 Because, you know, when you make a commitment
06:52 to step into someone's life,
06:54 it doesn't mean that everything in your life stops.
06:56 You are still dealing with whatever.
06:58 And a lot of, a lot of people seem to think
07:02 because I was pushing so hard,
07:03 trying to get people to work and go against who they where,
07:08 that's why I became ill.
07:09 In 2009 I suffered a brain aneurysm.
07:12 And I was in the intensive care unit
07:16 for three weeks.
07:18 When I came out it took me approximately a year,
07:23 before I could have really gotten back to myself.
07:26 Yes, I want to talk about that,
07:28 'cause for some people that haven't had,
07:30 like I just got bucked of a horse
07:32 and was knocked out for
07:34 I don't know how long, didn't remember.
07:36 The ambulance rider showing up at the hospital
07:38 and even at the hospital
07:40 the first person I met was my neurosurgeon.
07:42 He said, "Hi, my name is...
07:43 I'm your neurosurgeon."
07:45 And so I had a bleed between the right and left hemisphere.
07:48 I didn't hardly remember my name.
07:51 So I want you to talk about...
07:52 My frontal lobe, I'm told my frontal lobe was blown.
07:55 Yeah.
07:56 I actually have a coil right now in my brain,
08:00 it was called the coiling system.
08:02 And you feel lethargic after, I was lethargic,
08:07 I know for at least six months
08:10 and even the business that I'm talking about,
08:12 that's how that it suffered.
08:14 Because I couldn't get back into it.
08:17 But I still kept in touch and I kept a lot of it going.
08:20 It was not as vibrant as it was.
08:23 But that illness is very, it could be debilitating.
08:28 So I think,
08:30 that's when I realize the stuff that you went through,
08:33 at the same time you're trying to love
08:36 and bring life into someone else.
08:39 Who mentored you, who was your strength?
08:42 My mom. My mom. Okay, in what way?
08:46 My mow was a teacher by profession
08:49 but she never stopped when she was home.
08:52 So we felt her strength
08:54 and we felt her desire to keep us educated
08:56 and to keep us on the right track.
08:59 You know, she always taught is
09:02 if you have a loaf of bread, half of it only is yours.
09:06 The other half, make sure that you share it.
09:08 Wow.
09:09 So it was never a problem for me to give.
09:12 I'm not going to say I was never selfish.
09:15 I was selfish,
09:16 I mean I know the times when I was selfish.
09:17 And I was also judgmental even though that was something
09:19 that she taught us not to be.
09:22 What did that look like in your life in the judgmental stuff
09:25 and how, you had to surrender some of that
09:27 if you're working with Adventist folks.
09:29 I came to this country, I'm in 30, several years ago.
09:34 And I came as a student and it always shocked me
09:39 that as I was on my way to school
09:41 I saw so many people who weren't going...
09:43 Just hanging out. Yeah. Just chilling.
09:45 And so I said, you know, I figured well,
09:47 I mean really
09:49 and then especially the ones who would ask me for a dollar.
09:52 I would be like well, you know,
09:53 I'm going to work and when I'm done,
09:55 I have to go and catch eight hours of class
09:57 because I want to be able to not to ask for a dollar.
10:00 So I was very critical and...
10:03 It's...
10:04 but I love when you say that 'cause it's really tough,
10:06 'cause I've been on both sides of that where,
10:09 you know, man I, it's non stop, just trying to get on my feet.
10:14 And, you know, you got to just do something.
10:16 But that taught me, It taught me too,
10:18 I mean over the years
10:19 and I think age is really wisdom
10:21 and maturity like that.
10:23 It taught me enough because they're asking,
10:25 it means that they have a golden spirit.
10:27 I learned especially from the ladies
10:29 I mentioned and men.
10:30 There were men on my crew as well
10:32 that there was some nurturing damage
10:35 that took them where they were.
10:37 Exactly.
10:38 So they were not willfully deviants...
10:42 Right. Right. Or degenerate.
10:44 So but let me just say, 'cause it's really interesting
10:46 'cause there's a reason to everybody's where they are
10:48 but I never got the person that said,
10:51 "You know what, are you kidding me?
10:52 I'm like tired and working hard."
10:55 And then the other person that says,
10:57 "I never learned to dare to dream
10:59 or dare to even expect anything from the world around me."
11:02 And so when you said just chilling,
11:04 that's I would be there.
11:05 I didn't expect to make it. I didn't expect to be accepted.
11:09 I didn't expect to have anything to offer
11:11 and so I kind of stepped out.
11:13 But...
11:15 But there is this compassion that you receive and think,
11:18 when you get older,
11:21 you're taught not to be judgmental.
11:23 I mean you receive that, you were told in the home.
11:25 But then as you grow older
11:27 and you get into society and stuff,
11:30 you then you get the lessons you were being taught.
11:32 So it taught me then that, okay,
11:34 there must be a reason
11:35 why year after year people will be here,
11:38 they're not moving forward.
11:39 Yeah. It has to be more than that.
11:41 So I need to sit back and get away from myself.
11:46 And stop thinking that I'm the example
11:48 and let me start looking at how I can give back.
11:51 And that started years ago at Brooklyn
11:53 when I lived in New York
11:55 and I worked with high school kids
11:57 and then I went to like the shelters
12:00 and worked with women who wanted to work,
12:03 who wanted to be taught but they were never
12:07 because of who they had become.
12:09 They were not afforded those opportunities.
12:11 And so that took me from state to state,
12:13 every state I lived in, I found a place.
12:16 Where you could get,
12:18 and as you're taking I remember again
12:20 why I fell in love with you.
12:22 Thank you.
12:23 But, you know, even saying that transition for you
12:27 when you said that, you know, I'm realizing that, you know,
12:31 you can step in and, you know,
12:33 there is a writer Ellen White and she said,
12:36 "Only by love is love awakened."
12:38 And the first time I read that,
12:40 I thought only by love is love awakened.
12:43 We can't change outside of that and so I want to say again,
12:49 as we mentor each other
12:50 and as we step into that world of mentoring someone,
12:54 we wake that desire for change in them
12:57 and God does that for us,
12:58 but we actually do that for someone else.
13:00 I could see that only by love is love awakened.
13:03 I mean if you don't know how to love
13:05 and you're now learning, you're now giving it,
13:07 that's how you'll see it and that's how you start.
13:10 learning using it, you know, I can see how that's relevant.
13:14 So the aneurysm takes you out for a bit,
13:18 how did you stand back up?
13:20 That should be a year.
13:22 I remember in my house, my office is upstairs
13:27 and I was unable to walk steadily for a while
13:32 and I remember one day
13:33 I got up, I said I'm going up to my office.
13:37 And it took me because my back, you know, the epidural
13:42 and all that to get into my back,
13:44 so my muscles were on the stiff side.
13:46 You know, braced against the wall
13:47 and took myself up 14 treadles up to my office.
13:52 When I got up there, turned on my computer,
13:55 I didn't even remember what to do,
13:57 how to, you know, it came up, the screen came up.
14:00 And I sat there for a while and I didn't leave,
14:04 I know I didn't cry.
14:06 Yeah. Right. But I was so frustrated.
14:08 Because I said, you know, I'm seeing it
14:11 and I'm reading what's up there and I couldn't get it started.
14:15 And I did that later on that day
14:17 and like two days after
14:20 I was able to get back into the groove
14:23 of doing what I used to do but it took a while,
14:26 the better part of a year.
14:28 So can I ask you,
14:31 if someone that's right now discourage and saying,
14:34 you know, what?
14:36 I am done, you know,
14:38 everything that I knew what I was doing,
14:40 everything that I could do,
14:41 everything that I could count on is gone.
14:45 What would you say to them
14:46 'cause I imagined in front of the computer you felt that,
14:49 it's like, you know, what am I doing?
14:51 How am I gonna get my life back?
14:52 You know there is a inner strength that we have,
14:55 that we don't really remember
14:57 especially when we are into throes
14:59 of that kind of disorientation.
15:01 We tend to think that that's the end.
15:06 There is this push that you feel.
15:11 It might be a sense of pride,
15:12 but there was no way I was going out like that.
15:15 I had to write, I had stories up there.
15:18 I mean, I'm a journalist, I'm a writer,
15:19 I had things that I had started
15:21 that were on that they needed to be done.
15:24 I couldn't think of anybody else to do it but me.
15:27 So I had to get it done.
15:28 You know, there is, I think one of the writers
15:32 that help me survive is writer name Frankl
15:35 and he wrote a book
15:37 called "Man's Search for Meaning"
15:39 and this guy is in concentration camps
15:41 and totally lost and just about that
15:45 and he remember that he didn't write his book yet.
15:49 It reminded me exactly of what you said.
15:51 He said I can't die yet.
15:52 I haven't written this book and it helped him survive
15:55 that whole thing and the book is brilliant.
15:58 So what were you saying is...
15:59 But I remember the people who worked for me before that.
16:02 Because they would call, you know, and my son,
16:05 my younger son was still helping me
16:07 to keep the business alive.
16:08 And he would bring cards and they would call,
16:10 and I knew I have to get back.
16:12 I had one of the...
16:14 I had a great payroll person who kept working for me
16:18 even when I wasn't paying her.
16:20 You know, and she just kept the fact
16:22 that everything kept going
16:24 and these people still had a reason to come to work,
16:27 that made me feel good
16:28 and that gave me even more of a desire to get better.
16:32 Because if they weren't working,
16:34 they were not gonna be doing good,
16:36 they were to be going back to where they were.
16:38 And several of them did, several of them did.
16:41 So it takes you about a year.
16:44 You start to know even what to do with a computer
16:49 and I...
16:50 No, it took me about like about three or four months,
16:53 but it took me about a year
16:54 to get back to really devising things,
16:58 secreting by look and we're gonna do it this way.
17:00 To really thinking at a higher level.
17:04 Because at that time my thinking was,
17:06 I would say purely instinctive,
17:08 I knew if this glass was falling,
17:09 I should hold it,
17:11 but it, I mean I couldn't calculate
17:12 or do any of that.
17:14 And I think that unless you had brain issues,
17:17 it's hard to know what that feels like,
17:20 'cause I remember trying to find a word like,
17:22 I would start to speak
17:23 and I think, I try to find a word
17:24 and it just won't be there.
17:26 And even my husband would look at me
17:28 like what's wrong and I said, "I just don't know,
17:30 I know that what I want to say, but I can't say it."
17:34 See I didn't have a problem with that
17:36 because my long term memory was intact.
17:38 Right.
17:40 But if I put my glasses down,
17:41 I could never remember where they were.
17:43 The very small things,
17:44 the short term things bothered me
17:47 and that was frightening.
17:48 I mean, you know, how many times I lock my keys in my car
17:51 or I started the car and locked,
17:53 you know, thank God for roadside assistance.
17:57 Because that's what rescued me so often.
18:00 So it's really, it's a terrible.
18:04 It could be tragic
18:05 because some people tend to go into themselves.
18:08 I attended, I had to attend a clinic during my healing
18:12 and it would be so, it would be shocking,
18:17 it would be a source of realization
18:19 when you got there to see how many people had aneurysm
18:23 and were not as well as I was.
18:27 A lot them, they were a lot of deficits
18:29 that people suffered.
18:31 Ambulation, they for instance,
18:33 they couldn't speak, couldn't control their saliva,
18:36 so looking at that kind of thing told me,
18:38 look, I was spared for a reason
18:42 and I wasn't gonna stop writing.
18:44 I was not going to stop my teaching
18:46 and I was going to keep reaching all
18:48 to the folks who still wanted me.
18:50 And the best part was that
18:53 this is from the Seventh-day Adventist church
18:55 told me that the door was always open
18:57 once I was heal, come on back,
18:59 and she kept it open and I went back.
19:01 That's incredible.
19:02 So as you start getting back on your feet,
19:05 I want you to talk about 'cause we are talking about,
19:07 you know, loving people into their own skin
19:09 and mentoring and giving back our talents
19:12 'cause what I heard from you
19:14 when I first started talking with you,
19:17 is we're talking about someone else
19:18 that you're working with
19:19 and they're gonna be on another program,
19:21 we'll meet Connie,
19:23 we'll meet you on this program too
19:25 but as I'm talking to you, I'm realizing that as a mentor,
19:31 as someone that is standing up through all of their own stuff,
19:35 there's something incredibly important for that.
19:39 We can't heal outside a connection.
19:42 You know, Brene Brown is another author that I love,
19:47 she says, "It's an irreducible need
19:49 of all people to be loved and to belong
19:53 and if we don't have that we break, we fall apart."
19:56 You know, we act out all of that kind of stuff
19:58 and so I know the ministry you have
20:05 is trying to connect,
20:06 trying to love someone into their own skin
20:09 and trying to get them to stand up is huge.
20:11 And so you step back into that and you...
20:14 And I met Connie. Okay. So Connie is who?
20:17 Connie, she was in the grammar writing skills class
20:20 that I conducted.
20:22 And I remember one day after class she ask me,
20:25 she said she wanted to talk to me.
20:27 And she had this story that she wanted to tell
20:29 but she's not a strong writer.
20:32 I said, well, we're not all strong writers
20:34 but I'll be happy to listen to it.
20:36 And the first line she gave me
20:37 but I'm giving away her story or her,
20:40 you know, sit down here,
20:43 told me it was a story I had to do.
20:44 It was a story of such poor nurturing
20:51 and the fall out of that,
20:53 and then it took me back to the people I would pass,
20:55 asking me for a dollar.
20:57 You know, it helped me to connect
21:01 why nurturing is so important to making people hold
21:08 and why so many broken people are out there.
21:11 You know, and I don't want to go by that too fast
21:14 because, you know, we can see it in an animal.
21:17 You know, we can say it,
21:18 I can have somebody donate a horse
21:20 'cause we worked with foster kids and horses.
21:23 I can have somebody donate a horse and that horse
21:25 if it's not taking care of and not loved,
21:27 that horse will never be the same,
21:29 it doesn't act the same as other horses.
21:33 But we don't really see it or accepting each other,
21:36 we want to step in with some kind of judgment.
21:38 So when you say that what you saw was that,
21:42 you know, a real difference in someone
21:45 when they're not nurtured.
21:47 Can you explain that a little bit more
21:48 what you saw, what you experienced?
21:52 Well, the first day we sat down,
21:55 we never really got to doing the book
21:56 because she ripped.
21:58 I mean she ripped.
22:00 And we were to meet for an hour and we never did anything
22:04 other than I watched her cry and told her it's okay
22:08 and we met at my home and so I got up, you know,
22:13 I just made like a visit.
22:16 And I think it was as she cried and she said
22:21 but, you know, she really wanted to get this off
22:23 and she's just tired of this,
22:25 it's just a thing she was saying as she was crying.
22:28 I said, it made me feel that she was genuine
22:31 and wanting to have this out there.
22:35 Wanting to say, get it off her chest.
22:38 You know, and as we went,
22:43 it took us almost 22 months to get the book done.
22:45 Twenty two months,
22:47 I can't even imagine the amount of healing
22:49 that happened for her during that time.
22:50 And I want to ask you something about that.
22:53 When I was writing my own book,
22:55 I was assigned to write her at one point
22:58 and I realized that she's never been in that world.
23:02 You know, it's interesting to tell someone about that
23:05 but it's really different that is your reality.
23:09 And so I sent her to hang out with my sister,
23:12 who is a stripper and drug dealer
23:14 and to just walk around with her,
23:15 just hang out with her
23:17 'cause I just wanted her to get a feel of what it felt like,
23:21 to have that be your world
23:23 and did you get a sense of that during that 22 months as said,
23:27 did you get a sense of what she actually lived?
23:31 Yes, I have to especially
23:33 because I had to create all the scenes,
23:35 I have to do to fill in to make the story readable,
23:39 you know, some people ask for a mike,
23:42 they want to have it recorded or whatever
23:44 but if I was not there to see her cry,
23:47 to see the emotions she showed at certain points.
23:50 To see how certain memories that she would invoke
23:54 and try to relived to give me some clarity.
23:58 I would not have been able to paint the picture as,
24:03 I want to say real,
24:05 but I did a pretty decent job trying to get all that
24:07 and not for me but for her.
24:09 Because she wanted this story to be told with
24:12 as much authenticity as was possible.
24:14 So if she were out doing what she did in the book,
24:18 I'm not gonna take away from her.
24:20 I have to understand where she was mentally...
24:23 What that meant? Emotionally and physically.
24:26 So it was quite a journey.
24:29 You know, and the healing that happened to her
24:32 even the process you got to see.
24:35 Yes.
24:36 Did you ever once and don't lie to me,
24:39 did you ever once feel like, "Aye, this is too much."
24:42 I cried sometimes too. Yeah.
24:44 When I heard some of the things that she endured,
24:47 I cried.
24:48 And I think I would have cried for anybody
24:50 because I can't understand how people can be treated
24:53 that way by people that they love,
24:54 people they looked to for protection.
24:58 And, you know, I'm talking about within the home
25:01 that kind of thing.
25:02 It was really, really, really hard
25:05 for somebody to listen to as well.
25:07 It's hard even for someone to read.
25:10 Yes.
25:12 But why, you know, and I know the answer for myself
25:17 but I'm asking you
25:19 why do we need to hear this story?
25:20 Why do we need to know?
25:22 Why do we need to see this world?
25:27 I think it's important because it brings,
25:31 it shows we are somebody, could have been from childhood.
25:36 What they were given the bad tools,
25:39 they were given to take them into young adulthood,
25:43 into adulthood and to see that they can get to a point
25:46 where we started of with grace,
25:50 where she could have received so much grace.
25:52 Where she could have felt well,
25:54 I need to go to church at some point.
25:56 I need to get myself out of the situation
25:59 and I'm not saying that she did it on her own.
26:02 She had to listen to some voice that said, you know, what?
26:05 "You have to get away from this area
26:07 to get yourself together."
26:09 And she got away and as things would have it,
26:14 we met and we got the story together
26:17 and now it's really a tool for anybody who was been there.
26:21 So, Verism, I want to just say,
26:25 we can't heal without looking into someone's eyes
26:28 and saying, I know that you see me.
26:31 I feel that when you spend this time with me,
26:35 when you slow down enough to even hear my story,
26:39 I feel somewhat loved and protected for a moment.
26:43 So, you know, to me during that time,
26:45 I just want to say as an adverse person
26:48 that every single time someone did that to me,
26:50 I could feel myself heal.
26:52 When I talked about Marcia and being adopted,
26:54 unbelievable, unbelievable, she starts to aggregate cancer
27:00 and she's not gonna make it,
27:01 and I remember her invited me over
27:04 and I wanted to weep and say, "I can't lose you,
27:07 I can't lose you because I don't know how to stand.
27:10 You are in this world, the person that loves me
27:15 and I'm so afraid."
27:17 And she laid in the bed,
27:19 she's dying and she's showing me pictures
27:23 of all the relatives that I didn't meet.
27:25 Man, my grandfather would have loved you.
27:28 My grandma, she would have just adored you,
27:31 I wish you would have met and she would tell me stories
27:33 and we would laugh
27:35 and I think that 22 months is in a mentoring situation,
27:39 in a situation where you step into someone's life
27:42 and I don't care what the task is.
27:45 You have changed everything.
27:47 It's like that moment and time where love becomes real
27:50 and trust becomes real.
27:52 And I can hope that I can heal.
27:57 And I learned a lot from her too.
28:01 A lot of bowed her to,
28:03 because I think she has a great personality,
28:07 a great sense of humor.
28:08 It was so much that I would not have known if I...
28:12 She's a great cook, she does and, you know,
28:16 she has recipes that she creates
28:19 and of course, I get to sample them
28:21 because we're doing a little recipe book,
28:23 and we bring and Marcia has...
28:27 She has a marvelous voice, I hate to say it because,
28:30 you know, she kind of feels like gets too much to the head.
28:36 But she is very, has a great voice.
28:40 Has so many ambitions,
28:42 so here I was looking at this person
28:44 who I thought was so broken.
28:47 Who I would not have expected to say
28:50 I want to be all these things,
28:52 I want to do all these things and having pass,
28:55 having gotten to that age, you know, I'm saying well,
29:00 it can't happen
29:02 and here it was I could see her for the 22 months
29:04 becoming a different person.
29:06 So by the end of it we became friends.
29:09 Absolutely.
29:10 I mean friends sharing with her the things
29:13 that I share with friends that I grew up with,
29:16 that I went to school with.
29:17 You know, she came into that bracket.
29:21 She fell into that bracket.
29:22 And this is, and I could because we really kind of went
29:26 from what you do to this one woman but you've had
29:31 spoken to the life of several women,
29:33 several men and I just have to say, I just,
29:38 I so wanted just shout from the roof top,
29:43 we can't heal in a vacuum.
29:46 On either side, when you talked about even,
29:49 like even term of that judgmental stuff,
29:51 and I'm thinking I knew and could get that
29:54 is like we can't heal on either side into.
29:57 Dialogue is open and we actually understand
29:59 what Jesus said, when He said love one another.
30:02 Reaching to the lives of each other
30:04 and it's the only way
30:07 the gospel is gonna become real.
30:08 And I can say that I know for sure
30:10 that she was hurting in the sense
30:13 that she was not loved by the people
30:15 she wanted to be loved by.
30:18 And I'm not guessing, this is what she said.
30:21 And I don't know if that has happened as yet,
30:24 that would be her story to tell.
30:26 But it was so frustrating to me when I was working with her
30:31 and I actually was told that I shouldn't, you know,
30:36 by family members, her family members.
30:39 I really shouldn't be working with her
30:41 because her story is not true
30:43 and, you know, that kind of thing, so...
30:45 And let me just go on to that
30:47 'cause it's really interesting the more I get into recovery,
30:51 the more I get into, you know, I'm 35 years clean
30:56 and so that's a long time,
30:58 but the narratives that we tell in our damage
31:02 are sometimes are the stories that we tell,
31:04 like I don't take it from anybody else's point of view.
31:08 I don't know what it feels like to be in my sister skin
31:11 and my brother skin or my mom skin
31:13 or even my dad who,
31:15 you know, died using crack and is a mess.
31:19 You know, I don't know what it feels like to be in their skin
31:21 but as I get older and I start to heal
31:24 and I start to look back
31:26 and I start having empathy for the other people
31:28 and hear their stories,
31:30 I realize it everybody has their own perspective.
31:33 So when family members really say like my sister
31:37 is a methodic she will say,
31:38 "I'm so angry that you talk about our addiction."
31:42 And I'm like really because we're all, we're addicts.
31:47 Yeah, I heard that too. I heard that too.
31:49 But you heard that? Yes.
31:51 You know, but I wanted to say for even for family members
31:54 is that man, it's hard to hear someone else
31:59 tell it from their point to view.
32:00 It really is hard and my heart goes out to them too.
32:03 Yeah, like I explained to, you know, her family members,
32:06 I'm not making this up.
32:08 This is what was told to me and I'm writing it
32:10 and I'm giving all the disclaimers
32:12 that are necessary.
32:14 But I feel very comfortable in what I was told,
32:17 was told from the heart.
32:19 And I put it back out there and I mean put it back
32:22 as she gave it to me, nothing was repackaged.
32:26 You know, so it's tough, it's tough
32:29 and it's all about reality.
32:31 And it's all about being honest in the end.
32:34 We're gonna open up for questions.
32:36 I want to ask you a few questions.
32:37 To see if anybody has any questions
32:39 that ask of you in the cafe
32:41 'cause I just want to say that you guys are amazing
32:44 and I'm glad you're here
32:45 and so today we're talking about,
32:48 you know, those mentoring roles,
32:49 or those times even in our lives when we have somebody
32:52 that's just slows down long enough to see us.
32:56 You know, those are incredible and so, you know,
32:59 I know that Connie, you're here
33:01 and she is your Marcia and so do you have anything
33:05 that you would like to say or ask right now?
33:09 Well, Verism, what I would like to say, Cheri,
33:12 to Verism is that I want to thank you
33:16 for taking the time out to listen to me
33:21 and to believe in me and to write my story.
33:24 And I also like to thank God for placing you
33:27 in each other's paths, you know,
33:30 so that this could come into fruition
33:34 and it's been immensely healing for me,
33:37 and I want to say, I appreciate you very much.
33:40 Thank you.
33:42 So healing in my way 'cause we're talking about mentors
33:44 and we were talking about people that see us Connie.
33:46 And to me I know what that feels like
33:49 and I know what it feels like from your situation.
33:54 So when she started to believe in you,
33:56 why did that matter?
34:00 Because growing up I didn't have a strong support system.
34:05 So she supported me and just acknowledging my gifts
34:12 and my talents and giving me compliments and, you know,
34:16 just reminding me that,
34:18 you know, you're an awesome person.
34:21 If you really just look inside yourself
34:23 and you see that.
34:25 But, you know, for somebody that's not hurt that a lot
34:28 is like you're starving to death
34:30 and somebody offers you food.
34:32 Yes, absolutely because...
34:33 I can even see it when you said it.
34:35 Yeah, 'cause my self esteem was totally shot.
34:38 You know, and I had been working only through the years
34:40 but to, we say things to ourselves all the time
34:45 but to hear someone else say it,
34:47 is even more powerful.
34:49 Yes. Yes, and she did that for me.
34:52 I think I love her because of you.
34:56 I just think I do and so I know that,
34:59 Dona, you had a question.
35:01 Hi, Cheri, I'm just,
35:03 I've seen you through the years,
35:05 we've talked through the years,
35:06 we've been friends and to following that
35:09 and I'm just glad I got to know you
35:12 because I've got a daughter that was an addict,
35:16 very bad and it broke my heart.
35:21 You know, even when we're first talking with you, Dona,
35:23 is that you know you could feel that desperation
35:26 like I don't know what to do, I don't know how to reach her.
35:30 Yeah, there was nothing that I can say to her
35:35 and I would talk to her
35:37 and she give me these blank answers
35:40 and I would pray so much, you know,
35:42 because I couldn't be there for her.
35:44 We lived miles apart
35:46 and I want to be with her so bad
35:49 and each time I talk to her,
35:51 I could hear the little girl in her
35:53 and I could just feel
35:54 that she didn't want to be in that spot.
35:57 But she was just reaching out but I wasn't there,
36:01 I put her in God's hands and that's why I wish so much
36:05 that she had met somebody earlier
36:09 that can take care of her
36:11 and hold her close like I couldn't
36:13 because I want it so bad
36:15 to physically take her in my arms
36:16 and hold her and tell her, "I'll see you through this,
36:20 I'll see that you make the recovery."
36:22 'Cause she was in and out of rehab in different areas,
36:25 and she just kept going back
36:28 but now I think that she has gone back to God,
36:32 which I'm so thankful
36:33 that was the answer to a mother's prayer
36:36 because I couldn't be there for her.
36:38 And I want it so bad
36:40 but I knew by putting her in God's hands
36:42 so he would take care of her for me.
36:45 But because I wasn't there physically,
36:48 I often wanted somebody...
36:50 Like, Verism.
36:51 Absolutely, somebody to take and just wrap her up and say,
36:56 "It's gonna be okay, I'm here for you."
36:59 It absolutely matters.
37:00 And that, you know, to me I'm just,
37:02 I'm so excited 'cause I know that Sherri is doing well,
37:06 she's in recovery.
37:08 She's really just kind of basking
37:11 in that relationship with God.
37:13 I can see it in your face and your voice
37:15 that you're just saying, I can take a breath.
37:18 It's actually been long enough that I can breathe,
37:20 I can trust her journey right now.
37:23 But I'm always wondering,
37:27 you know and she tells me every day,
37:29 "Mom, I've been clean."
37:32 But it's a struggle. Yeah.
37:33 Every day it's a struggle
37:36 and every day it's got to be hard
37:39 but she said, she relies on God.
37:42 She relies on Him to see her through these times.
37:45 That's incredible.
37:47 So, Verism, when we're talking about mentoring
37:50 and being able to see each other, do you,
37:55 and what you do with reaching out to folks
37:58 and even in your own healing, do you see more of them now?
38:03 I mean like when you look up,
38:05 can you kind of see somebody
38:07 that actually would needs that kind of relationship?
38:11 Need someone to walk along side of them?
38:13 Yes, I can and I hate to make it sound
38:16 like it's a science, something you can learn.
38:21 I think I've gotten more to feel people's emotions.
38:26 I've become a little more sensitive to why people...
38:33 appear to speak a certain way or why they pulled back
38:38 from certain things.
38:40 You know, and...
38:44 It makes me know that what I'm doing has to go on.
38:48 I have to keep doing what I'm doing.
38:52 I have to keep listening
38:53 and I can't just look at the disable person
38:56 in the corner and say, "Well, he just needs a bath
38:59 or probably a change of clothing."
39:02 That's somebody who's reaching out.
39:04 So as, you know, again we're talking about mentors
39:09 and relationships that are life changing on both sides
39:12 but life changing for us.
39:14 I know that with my love for Marcia,
39:16 the woman that adopted me is that made,
39:20 I was the apple of her eye.
39:22 Do you know what I mean?
39:24 I know that she loved me and she grew from that
39:25 but I was changed forever because of her love.
39:30 And so I'm gonna ask you one,
39:32 couple of questions I like you to answer
39:34 'cause we're almost at the end of this program
39:36 but when you step into mentoring role.
39:39 When you step into changing the lives of someone,
39:42 educating someone, getting to job
39:45 or even writing their story, I know that's time consuming.
39:50 But I want you to speak on that,
39:52 that commitment of doing those kind of relationships
39:57 and is it necessary for the church
39:59 to get the fact that we need to mentor and love each other.
40:03 Definitely, when you step in you have to realize,
40:06 first of all it's an ongoing process.
40:08 And most of the people I've helped still call me,
40:13 we're still in touch.
40:15 The ones who want to be in touch with me,
40:16 they still have their number.
40:18 I mean still have my number. Amen.
40:22 Recently I started working with a girl,
40:25 I haven't seen for years but she has lost her children
40:28 and I'm working with her to get them back.
40:31 That's the kind of thing, you have to be unselfish.
40:33 You have to understand it's ongoing
40:36 and even if there is a separation,
40:40 you should always be available.
40:42 I mean I can't see it any other way,
40:45 this just might taken it
40:46 and the people that I've worked with.
40:47 So it's not just once a week commitment.
40:49 It's not that I will see you at church
40:51 and we'll work on that.
40:52 And I think that for a lot of us
40:54 we say, you know what?
40:55 I don't know if I want to invest in someone's life
40:58 to that extent.
40:59 But if there is somebody that actually hears us today
41:03 and says, "I think I could do that,
41:05 I just want to say man, do it."
41:09 You know, do it because it's the gospel,
41:12 it's what we are asked to do for each other.
41:14 When Jesus said love one another
41:17 and, you know, fight against the schemes of the enemy.
41:20 I mean all of those things are so biblical,
41:22 strategically the enemy says, I want to disconnect everyone,
41:26 I don't want anyone to see each other.
41:29 I don't want you to honestly step into each other's lives.
41:33 But God says, no, don't listen, that is not me speaking.
41:38 I'm saying, like it says in Isaiah 58,
41:42 "Love each other, reach out to each other."
41:46 Going to each other's homes, step into each other's lives.
41:50 You know, there was a girl that 5 to 7 years
41:53 I've been working with and she did not, she was angry,
41:56 the first couple of years
41:58 she just cussed me out almost every single time we talked,
42:01 and I knew underneath all of that anger
42:04 is this incredible gifted women.
42:07 Incredible.
42:09 Well, I've been cussed out, I've been called...
42:12 I've been told to go back on the boat that I came on.
42:15 I've been told everything. Yeah.
42:17 But like I said earlier you know that's just of facade.
42:21 You know, there's somebody who's trying to push you off
42:24 because they're not ready to change.
42:26 My job to me was to stay right there, keep bugging.
42:30 Once I have your number and it hasn't been turned off,
42:34 I'll call you.
42:35 Where are you now, let's do this,
42:36 let's keep doing this.
42:38 You gonna be okay.
42:39 Yes, and there is a sense of satisfaction that you feel.
42:46 It's not, I mean, like people, a lot of my...
42:48 I heard from a lot of people that I'm wasting time.
42:51 I mean you're not paid for this.
42:53 It wasn't about the pay. It really wasn't about the pay.
42:57 And I would go so far as to say,
42:58 I feel that having healed as well as I have healed
43:03 from my aneurysm was probably the pay
43:05 that I earned that.
43:07 Yeah, God bless you in other ways.
43:09 I feel that because I have a...
43:12 Let me just say it like in Isaiah 58
43:14 when we talk about even the biblical thing is Isaiah 58
43:17 says that you'll become like a watered garden
43:21 and people will heal just in your presence
43:23 because you could imagine that watered garden
43:25 where you can actually take a breath and sit down
43:28 and see the beauty around you is that you become that,
43:31 and there's something that's a incredible gift from God
43:34 when you become that, but we become that as mentors.
43:39 We do, we do, and I mean
43:42 I can't say better than you have just said it.
43:46 I wouldn't do anything different.
43:48 Amen.
43:49 There is nothing I would do that's different.
43:50 I want to say thank you for joining us
43:53 on Celebrating Life.
43:54 I, like I said, you won my heart
43:58 and even more so, now looking at you
44:02 and knowing that you can't do anything different.
44:05 And if can say
44:06 I remember the first time I saw your program,
44:08 I wasn't even looking at the program and you just,
44:11 I mean I had the TV on going through the channel,
44:14 and you were talking about yourself when I looked up
44:18 and I called you.
44:19 I called the program and you answered the phone,
44:23 and of course, I was speechless
44:24 and then I said but I'm calling because, you know,
44:27 I just heard the program when I'm trying to, you know,
44:30 see where you are with that
44:32 and we talked for about 30 minutes.
44:36 And I feel, I mean even listening to you,
44:39 you sort of validated what I was doing at that time,
44:42 just hearing you respond to me and hearing you say,
44:47 that it was okay.
44:48 Amen. Amen. Thank you.
44:50 I want to say that we're gonna be right back stay with us
44:53 'cause I have few things I'd like to close with,
44:56 I'm not done yet.


Revised 2016-09-13