Brandi, The Church Frenemy: Part 1

I had to contain the pent-up rage and disappointment I was feeling since February to be able to address this topic. But address it I will. Over the past years, I’ve had a few experienes with losing “friends”. It’s always shocking, hurtful, and totally out of left field. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe I’m too naive. OR MAYBE…people simply pretend so well that you never see ’em coming until they bodyslam you with their betrayal. As a successful businesswoman, I realize only NOW that maybe jealousy is the actual root of all evil. Such is the case with my dear frenemy, who I will simply call Brandi.

Brandi was weird from day one. I met her at a church in the Caribbean and instantly felt such a deep sympathy in my heart for her. Shy and child-like, she never looked anyone straight in the eye. She called grown people, some her own age group or even younger, “aunty” and “uncle”. She came from sub-humble beginnings, lost her mom in her pre-teen years, and was basically a foster child bouncing from home to home on her native, poverty-tinged island. She shared her painful experiences with everyone she met. My thought was: “this chick will be my new project. She has to release her tragic past, mentally, in order to start fully enjoying her present”. My husband warned me not to try to “rescue” her because it was Jesus’ job to save people, not mine. But I couldn’t help myself. The gyal was a hot mess, yet I saw potential amidst all her brokenness. I understood, personally, how coming from a less-than-perfect childhood could really mess with your adult mind. I cautiously befriended her and planned to help her slowly, but victoriously, emerge from her cocoon.

Married with one young child, she claimed to be miserable at work, dissatisfied in her marriage, striving hard to be a great mom and struggling to maintain or create meaningful friendships. A silly and optimistic me thought I could help her in all of these areas. Boy, was I wrong.

Brandi, an avid churchgoer and an “ohhhh so righteous” Christian, sings at church; her husband is a self-proclaimed minister, adept at casting out demons. I respected them as a solid couple in the church, a pair of people you could run to with a problem, have them listen with a spiriual ear and pray for you. (But sometimes you have to ask God to help you discernn just what kind of “spirit” people are dealing with.)

Over the years, Brandi and I talked about alot of things. With her, everything ended in a mini sermon, complete with Bible verses. It was enlightennig and annoying in one breath. She didn’t know how NOT to “talk church”. As a (less than perfect) Christian myself, I love God and all things holy, but I live a life of reality, too. I stay current on breaking news, fashion trends (most, I never get into), pop culture, entertainment, social media, bestselling books, etc. She does not. She views that as being too “wordly”. The woman almost had a stroke because I went to a yoga class to help ease my back pain. Said it was demonic. (Insert a major eye roll here.) Isn’t going to work every day with non-believers equally demonic? In my opionion, if you conduct yourself as a Christian at work for 40 hours a week, you can do the same in a 45-minute yoga class. They say their chants, I chant my Psalms. ANYWAY…

I gently mentored Brandi and ATTEMPTED to show her another side to life. I gifted her books. I invited her to dinners at my house to try new foods and to meet a mix of people so that her world didn’t just revolve around Brother so-and-so and Sister so-and-so. I traveled often so I’d bring her clothing or accessories to help her look like her 30-something years and not a 60-year old. My husband and I paid for studio time for her to record music with her anointed voice, but she never used it. I drove around the island and showed her places she’d never seen or been to (like delightful French bakery in her own neighborhood!?). The Bible says “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”, yet this lady barely ventured anywhere besides church, home and her workplace. In my opinion, Brandi was not living her best life. I don’t think God intended for her to sit four nights a week in a church, but not have a cheap-n-cheerful date night with her husband on the beach that was less than five minutes away from her house! I wanted to open her eyes to the easily accessible and readily available beauty of life. By doing so, I felt it would holistically help her in all the troubled areas of her life.

I did all I could to help her with genuine intentions, a fully sincere heart and total joy. I am firm believer in the words, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. I give, not to get back, but to see others smile. I’ve given to strangers. I’ve given anonymously. I’ve given at times when I’ve had desperate needs myself! But, alas, sometimes your best intentions can be ill-received by twisted minds. Brandy said she admired me and often told me things like, “You have wealth written all over you. I see it in the spirit”. She and her husband said this to my husband and me many times. (remember what I said above about people and these “spirits”?). My husband and I aren’t wealthy by anyone’s standards (yet!), but we are rich in spirit, laughter, integrity and love. And for some people, that’s simply too much to handle. We make life look easy. I often hear that there’s a thin line between love and hate. However, no one truly addesses the even thinner line between admiration and jealousy. I found this out the hard way. I threw my “pearls to swines” and I am regretful to this day.

In my future “Brandi Chronicles”, I’ll share a multitude of experiences. Hopefully, those snapshots can help point out some of the signs of future BFF betrayal. My goal is to save someone the pain of frenemy-ism I’ve had to endure…

Until next time…ONE LOVE.

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