Brenda, my good friend at work, got a call early this morning in her cubicle across from mine. She couldn't understand her daughter because of her crying, and once she could make out her words she screamed, No! No! and started sobbing herself. Brenda's sister Betty had been murdered in Florida. Betty had called the police earlier because her neighbor was so angry with her for slamming her door while he was sleeping. She was scared of him - the detectives later told my friend that he was schizophrenic. So Betty had her friend stay with her until 8 o'clock, and when her friend went to check on her a half hour later she was lying beaten and stabbed to death in her tub. Betty had moved to Florida to escape her abusive husband. My friend Brenda hurts even more thinking about how glad she was that her sister had escaped the violence.

Just yesterday we had a department meeting; a very unusual one. Don knew there were some problems, personality conflicts and an unwillingness to work together as a team. So he talked about how he loved us all, and that we must work together by holding that kind of love for each other. He talked about how we're all family and we have to be open with each other and support each other. Pretty unusual for a boss to say things like that, don't you think? He's an exceptional man, our boss. Today after Brenda left, after we had all circled around her and hugged and held her, and prayed with her, someone mentioned that it must have been a God thing that we had that discussion yesterday.

This afternoon Brenda called me and said she was thinking about coming in to work tomorrow and I told her that Don wouldn't let her do that. Don was right there and he got on the phone and said, You're NOT coming in tomorrow. Don's never forceful, but he was when insisting one of his employees stay home and take care of herself. Brenda told me that she thought it might relieve some stress to come to work. I told her that if she needed to get away that I'd take to her lunch and go with her to get some things done for her sister's funeral or whatever she wanted. You take care of everyone, she told me. You're my Jesus Walker. Oh my God. I am so not a Jesus Walker...one who my friend believes walks with you and shows you Christ. I am just a friend, and even when I wanted to pray with her no words came out, and I let Dave do the praying. I couldn't even think to pray, and I felt guilty that I couldn't think how to pray. But I'm praying now, God. Help my friend and her family find some kind of peace in the midst of unspeakable tragedy and heartbreak.


Darla said...

oh, anne... this is so tragic. makes my heart hurt. i just can't even imagine the pain of losing someone in such a horrific way. what a loving department you have though.... gathering around brenda and helping her to walk through this time. i can see why Brenda wanted to come back to work right away - how lonely she must feel at home. she will most definitely need a Jesus Walker, and i can't think of anyone more "qualified" than you. you are so wise and so loving and so compassionate. thank you for being YOU. i wish there was something we could do.... what part of florida did this happen? praying for you and your department and brenda. love you anne.

gerbmom said...

Oh Anne,
I am so sorry, and I am so glad you are there for Brenda. What a terrible tragedy. I think of my team here at work this year, and all the conflict and power struggles. We would not be able to handle that kind of a tragedy - we can't even get along with each other! I am so glad God has given you a wonderful work environment and the support Brenda needs during this horrible time. And Anne, my friend, you are indeed a Jesus Walker. I know what a blessing you have been to me. You have been a wonderful supportive, loving, incarnational friend. Brenda is blessed to have you right now. God bless you both. My prayers are with you!

kingsjoy said...

Thank you for posting this, so we can pray along with you for Brenda.

Hey, if someone calls you a Jesus Walker, go with it! It doesn't mean you're perfect. It means you're reflecting off some of that "Marvelous Light" He's brought you into.

Karen's right...it's a rare thing to have that work environment. It would take a miracle to get anything close to unity at the office where I work.

Blessings all over you, Anne.

anne said...

Oh, you guys...you are all so wonderful! Kingsjoy your comment about accepting that "Jesus Walker" means I'm reflecting some of his light makes me feel better about accepting her calling me that. Thanks. Darla, this happened in Ocala. Brenda sent me an updated story she found online today: http://www.ocala.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060223/NEWS/60223006/1001/news01

Karen, you and Kingsjoy make me realize how blessed I am to work in the kind of environment I do. My boss reminds me of my pastor and my pastor reminds me of my boss. I couldn't get any luckier! Thanks for your prayers as well. I'll be letting Brenda know that there are so many praying for her. Of course there are so many other emotions she's having to deal with - like rage at her sister's murderer. Thanks for the love, my sistahs and brotha...