I have decided that for my 50th birthday I am going to write 50 articles this summer reflecting on my wanderings. These are not “pearls of wisdom” by any stretch of the imagination. Truthfully I have accumulated very little wisdom in all of my days. I simply want to reflect “out loud” as an active bystander of this life. I am grateful to share it with you.
Mentors, Pastors, Coaches and other Companions Along the Road
I am learning – and it has taken me 50 years and counting – that you cannot make it through this world alone. The notion of “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” is misleading at best, a lie at worst. Everyone needs someone to guide them along the way.
For me, it has taken a long time for me to acknowledge that I need help.
When I was a teenager and well into my adult years I had too much pride and rarely asked for help. Maybe I did not want to appear weak, or ignorant, or helpless. I wanted to demonstrate that I was smart enough and what I did not know I could figure out.
Well that is just dumb thinking.
I am slowly learning the truth than I cannot do anything, really, all by myself.
As my hair continues to grey (and retreat) I am recovering the importance of connecting with those who have gone before me and who will help show me a better way.
For eight years I played football. Throughout that time I worked with coaches who inspired me, cajoled me, corrected me, and worked me.
All of my life I have been in church and so I am particularly blessed to know many who were my spiritual guides. One in particular I still call my pastor. Even though for 28 years I have held that title, I still depend on my pastor to guide, comfort, and if need be, correct me in my own walk.
In spite of growing older and more experienced, I need more people, not less, to serve as mentors to me. Once every few weeks I meet with a successful business man whom I trust. I express my thoughts and ideas and frustrations. He listens, counsels, and freely shares sage advice. There was a time I would have been threatened by him. Now I realize I need more people like him in my life.
I have also reconnected with an acquaintance who is my therapist and spiritual director and sometimes career coach. He helps me look in the mirror honestly and challenges me to see things as they are as well as things as they could be.
My mentors and companions along the way are essential to my well-being as a person. It is also a reminder that I have that same opportunity to serve others in a similar capacity.
You really cannot make it through this world alone. And even if you could, why would you?