Mentor : A a wise and trusted guide.
Wife was addressing envelopes to send out after Christmas family photo.We cheat- We don’t send them out until after the first of the year. It’s that whole holiday stress thing. If you haven’t gotten yours by the 10th of January, it’s probably not coming.
As she was going through the rolodex, she asked if she should send one to a former mentor of mine - Sister Carol. We’ve lost touch with her since 1990, though we did run into her the Summer of 2006 at a 50th Jubilee for Sr Madonna.
(A 50th Jubilee is a celebration for being a sister 50 years).
So it wasn’t surprising that Sr Carol came to mind this morning. The lights came on for me spiritually in 1980. This isn’t the place to go into that. All I will say for now is, when the Bible talks about all of us needing a spiritual birth it happened. There was a definite before and after moment.
I would be the first to tell you I still have as many unanswered questions as the next guy. If you were physically blind for 20 years then a Doctor performed a surgery on your eyes so that you could see, it wouldn’t matter if a blind man came up to you afterwards and tried to tell you he could see just as well as you and his “view” of the world was just as good as your. I’ll leave the debating and arguing to someone wiser than I.
Back to Sr Carol.
So there I was, this spiritually hungry baby Christian. I read anything I could get my hands on, (both good and bad). Just like a baby sticking anything into his mouth because he doesn’t know any better, that was me. A pastor saw my hunger and gave me a study bible w/ notes. Then as I got to know Sr Carol, I was drawn to her nurturing heart. I would pop into her office periodically, just to chat. At one point I asked her point blank to help me overcome a big inferiority complex. I write in more depth about it here in a chapter titled “A Song Of Deliverance”
Sr Carol and our family spent 5 years together until life took us to New Jersey, and she headed to South America. Here are some of the things I appreciate about my first mentor:
She was a great listener! A great one. Never underestimate the encouragement you give someone when you take time to genuinely listen and empathize.
She knew the Scriptures. Jesus was alive and you could sense she knew him personally.
She was feisty and principled. Any woman who can move to Central America in the midst of a civil war because of her compassion for the poor is someone I’m honored to call my first mentor.
She had a soft heart. I still remember the tears in her eyes when she found out we had decided to switch Church denominations
She could pray. I loved the times together when she and I and my wife would hold hands and pour out our heart in prayer together…loved it.
She understood mutual accountability. There was never this sense that she was speaking down to me, even though she was miles ahead of me on this walk called “faith”. At one point she realized she was too busy, burning the candle at both ends, and trying to do God’s work in her own strength. We talked about her need to set aside at least one day a month to regroup and be still before the Lord. I became her accountability partner…what an honor. I was her accountability partner and it was my job to ask her if she was still taking her monthly break. Sr. Carol, if you are reading this, how are you doing with that discipline?
This post is my humble way of celebrating my first mentor and first deep Christian relationship Sr. Carol.
While I’m on this topic of mentors…let me ask, who would you list as the top 5 people in your life who have mentored you and why? If you want, write a post about the mentors in your life then link it here. Otherwise, just leave a comment.