Tirrel’s Story

Others, Stories

Contributed by: Inner City Youth Alive

Growing up was hard for me. My mom left me on my grandma’s couch when I was two weeks old and my dad wasn’t around because he was an alcoholic. It was a few hours before anyone found me. When someone finally did, they found me with a note saying that my mom couldn’t take care of me and that she was leaving. In my earliest years I felt that I never belonged. Nobody wanted me. When I was eight years old my dad came to visit for the first time. I was so excited thinking that we’d become a family. I ran down the hallway and finally saw him. At first he didn’t even say hi! I tried to get his attention so he would notice me. He walked past me as if I didn’t exist. I followed him down the road. When he noticed me, he turned around and said I couldn’t come where he was going. He turned and walked away. I continued after him and he repeated himself a few times. Then he finally turned around and said, “I’m never coming back.” At that point it felt like a burn to me and that something was broken. I stood there and watched him until I couldn’t see him anymore. I ran home and cried and cried. Nobody came to check up on me. It felt like nobody loved me. 

Years passed and I was looking for love in all the wrong places because I never got it at home. I got into gangs and crime. I remember robbing one guy’s house and finding lots of money. My friends and I took it all. As we left one of the neighbors saw us. We quickly ran away and planned to go to a local festival to swiftly spend all the money we just stole. When we got there we found that the festival was closed, so we walked home. As my friends and I were walking home, we looked down the street and saw the guy from whom we just stole the money. He waved us over and asked whether we knew who broke into his house. I said, “No”. He stopped, took a deep breath and looked back to me and asked us again. I said no a second time. After I lied again I felt something in my heart that I’d never felt before. I had lied and felt convicted. He told us to come to him by tomorrow before he would call the cops. I went home and couldn’t sleep. All night all I could think about was that I was going to jail. The next morning I finally worked up the courage to pick up the phone and dialed his number. I told him the truth that it was me who robbed his house and that I was ready to go to jail. The phone was silent for a bit until he finally replied, “I’m not going to call the cops on you. I want you to pay me back by helping me build a shed for my family.” I quickly replied that yes, I would help. As I hung up the phone I felt confused. This kind of grace had never happened to me before. When I went over to him the next day I expected him to beat me and yell at me. Instead, he welcomed me into his home and showed me something I had never experienced… forgiveness, grace and love. 

It brought me to the point to realize that love and grace can change someone’s life forever. Today I write and perform music to inspire change and help people and I’m even inspired by the stories I hear! So I don’t want to write music about gangs and violence. I want to write about what matters – to bring the best out of myself and other people.