“…that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Or: On Mentoring.)

9 Nov

My dear friend Kathy took me to breakfast this morning. Yes, it’s my birthday, but she didn’t take me for my birthday. She didn’t even know it was my birthday til I was there. (I may have mentioned it.) She met me at Four Seasons for omlettes (Gyro and Feta, so they called mine…it was divine!) not to celebrate another year I’ve made it around the sun, but to be a listening ear and loving friend. It’s been a hard weekend (though it was wonderful to have my very best friend Chrissy here, and to share life and love with my dear sisters at the New City Church Women’s Retreat), and when I texted her yesterday to ask if she could meet for coffee, she didn’t reply “Sure, next Friday”, or “maybe tomorrow”. She was available within a few hours. (Kathy has a pretty fancy in-charge kinda job, so it’s no small thing to up and be somewhere…even the same day.) It ended up not working out on my end, so we met this morning for breakfast. The coffee was bottomless, and I wish we could have stayed longer. Meh. Jobs.

Kathy isn’t the only woman who has been such a wonderful mentor to me. Women such as Chris, Kathy, Joanna, Alice have all, at different times in my life, moved toward me in love, being willing to support and love me even when they hardly knew me. Boyfriend breakups, job changes, marriage difficulties….each of these women faithfully, lovingly, walked beside me with love and laughter and truth. I pray often (though not often enough) that I can be that kind of a friend to women younger than I. I don’t feel very old. I don’t feel very wise. But they have often been humble enough to admit that even at their ages (which has varied!), they don’t have it “all figured out”, and it’s okay if I don’t either. I never felt intimidated or talked down to. I was viewed as a daughter, or sometimes a peer, even if the age difference was 20 years or more.

Did I mention that these women moved TOWARDS ME? They have invited me places, taken me to coffee or dinners, had me over to babysit or watch movies. As a young woman (at least for now) , I don’t often feel I can move towards older women to ask for help. I feel like the 5-year-old, tugging at the hem of a skirt while “Mom” (whoever that may be) is too busy doing laundry and baking bread to have any time for me. I should mention here: My mom was never like that – I never felt she was too busy for me! Just that I feel like that now…at the ripe old age of 29….now that I truly understand how busy the lives of these women are. I don’t want to stress them out or add to their worries. They are surely too busy, right?

I forget this when I fail to move towards women younger than me. I’m still trying to figure out how to do this without seeming like a total goofball, or feeling like I don’t have anything to contribute. Middle schoolers? Sure. High schoolers? I got this. But 20-somethings? Uuuuggggh. I can’t even figure out my own crap, what could I possibly contribute?

I suppose the secret is in what my dear (older) friends have said: “I don’t have it all figured out yet either, and that’s okay.”

Maybe I should practice this in the mirror a few times. And then have someone over for coffee.

“It’s her birthday today! She’s 29! The real 29, not like ’29’ like the rest of us.” – Kathy, to our 50-something waitress at breakfast today.

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One Response to ““…that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Or: On Mentoring.)”

  1. Bess November 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    I know that you contribute a lot to me.:)Of course, you are sort of forced to. Group would be weird if we just sat there and stared at each other. Seems like the mentoring thing is a 2-way street that we have to be open to and invite others to be open to us. Don’t know about you, but I feel like I don’t have any business mentoring anybody!I’m not good at asking for help though either.Lots of room for growth in myself…to put a positive note on it.

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