This past week was a challenging one for me and, I am certain, for many others that knew Bradley White. Even though many lives were deeply affected, I can only speak for myself and from my perspective about this horrific event. My deepest sorrow and regret goes out to Bradley’s family and close friends.
I moved here to Maryville about a year and a half ago, seeking to find joy in this life. I knew that I found my greatest joy when I served others. If I could help someone in need, I felt I was “in tune” with my purpose in life. I still feel that way. I find myself “seeking” or looking for “signs” as I meet people or when I find myself in just about any situation. I ask myself, “Am I meeting this person for a reason?” “Is this person someone that I can inspire, or is this a person that can inspire me?” I tend to try and stay away from people that pull me down, however, if I feel I can bring them up, I won’t “shut out” that person. Even as I am driving down the road, if I see someone driving reckless (especially motorcycle drivers), I will say a silent prayer for them that they will be safe and that those around them will be safe. I love serving others.
I met Bradley one day at church. He was talking to Kevin and I walked up to him and introduced myself. Kevin said that Bradley might be available to do some subcontractor work for us in our heating and air conditioning business. At first I didn’t know how I felt about that. Looking back, I think I felt some of the sadness he had inside, although, at the same time, there was something so like-able about him. He had a charm about him, and little did I know at the time, but an instant connection was made between us. Before I knew it, Kevin was calling him about doing some subcontractor work for us. Bradley was a very dedicated, hard-working man. We were pleased with his work, and he was pleased with the income he was making. I didn’t know exactly what all he had been through in his life, but I could tell he was working hard at turning his life around. Everything seemed to be falling into place for him. He came to us one day and asked if we would hire him full time. At the time, we weren’t looking to put on another truck, but it just so happened, that one of the guys we had working with us had another job offer. That is why we decided to go ahead and hire Bradley. We knew if the other guy left, we had a spot available. It turned out that the other guy stayed, and we were able to keep both of them. In fact, we needed both of them.
Bradley seemed so happy. He had certain things going on in his life, but he was doing his best to rise above it all. We sent him to Memphis to get specialized A/C training, and while he was there, he got his EPA certification. He was so proud of both. Everything seemed to be picture perfect. But then…he hadn’t worked for us long, when circumstances came up, and we felt we had no choice but to go separate ways as far as employment. I implored him that that situation did not need to define him. I told him he was just brought to a crossroad, and that he would be fine. I told him that he would do great out on his own, and that things were going to be okay. He looked me in the eyes and said, “No, they’re not.” He meant that things were not going to be okay. He turned to leave, opened the door, and said, “Bye, Lisa.”
A few weeks later, on Sunday, a feeling came over me. I texted him. I told him that we missed seeing him. I told him to come see us. The very next morning, we got a call. They asked if we had seen Bradley. They told us that Bradley was missing. They found him four days later. It was a horrific crash. His life was taken instantly.
The title of this blog is, “Life Will Always Bring Us Challenges Through People and Circumstances…” My brief but profound interaction with Bradley did bring some challenges that forced me to look deep within myself. He appeared in our lives and made lasting impressions in my heart and my soul. I can honestly say that I love him deeply. I pray that I will see him again one day. The second part of the title to this blog is, “Is Life Still Good?” The answer is, YES. Life is good. Our minds (perceptions), ultimately determine whether or not life is good or life is bad. I will never know whether or not I fully did my part to help Bradley. I struggled with thoughts of feeling like I let him down. Could I have done more? Should I have done more? I won’t allow my mind to go all the way there though. I choose to be thankful for the time I shared with Bradley. I choose to learn from this experience and be more proactive when helping the next person. That doesn’t mean that I will never make mistakes. I am sure I will. For as long as God is willing, I will keep living my life for others. As long as I live, I will continue to strive to make a positive difference. I know that Bradley is now free of this temporal world. Wherever you are at this moment, Bradley White, I want to say two things. I am sorry if I let you down, and Thank you for blessing my life.