On July, 5th, 2017, a dear friend of my community passed away from a heart attack at age 77. His name was Roger Bruellman, or Mr. B to those who he taught. He was a coach, counselor, teacher, war veteran, city council member, church council member, men’s group and choir singer, and more.
Roger touched more lives than many, which is why on July 11th, there were over 400 people at his funeral while the church only had a capacity for 250. Some guests had to watch the funeral on live TV in another room. Roger saw the good in every person. He never looked at someone for who they were, but for who they could be. Roger will truly be missed.
One of the things that struck me during the service was something he used to ask every person who came to him for help. He would ask them, “Who drove you here?” What he meant by this was, who brought you to where you are in your troubled life. Sometimes we drive ourselves into awful positions, and other times we become helpless in the passenger seat along for the ride.
In my life for example, I did not drive myself here. I was born with a seizure disorder and the doctors told my mother I might not survive past a year old. Suddenly, after a few tests they said my seizures would eventually turn into migraines and from there they would disappear completely which is exactly what happened, and for 18 years I was seizure free and felt normal.
Suddenly, during my senior year of high school, I was dehydrated coming home from my first performance in Minneapolis. Upon arriving home, I passed out in my garage from a standing position, which lead to hitting my face on the concrete floor and bleeding for an hour until I was found by my father. The incident left me with brain damage to my memory, scar tissue effecting my processing of emotions, and it even brought back my seizures.
Roger would always follow up his “who drove you here” question with another. “Who now has the keys?” It has a simple answer really, he would hope that you now have the key. Now I’m working with artists daily, music, and comic books have become my life. As I try my best to succeed, I can honestly say I didn’t drive here, but I now have the keys.
Those of you who may be struggling, you are not alone. Many people struggle with something, you need to find the right people who will be there for you in difficult situations. Someone like Roger. And though you may not have drove to where you are now, you now have the keys. For those of you who are passengers in someone else’s “vehicle”, be sure to help them navigate.