I don’t know about you, but I was raised with an independent spirit fostering the attitude, “I can do it all on my own.” This is seen in the two-year-old child who stands and insists that despite the difficulty or danger, “me do, me do” is their reality. Indeed, when being raised in a family where kids were pretty much left to fend for themselves (a story for another time) that is a life-saving posture in many ways and on many days. As an adult, I have learned not only to challenge that thinking, but to dismiss it as I’ve learned to surrender my will and to rely upon entities outside of my more than capable (in my opinion) little 5-foot self.
I do not apologize for the fact that I am a person who tries to follow Jesus Christ. But I also have been blessed to lean upon, learn from and find ways to imitate some dear souls He has sent my way to be mentors, teachers and representatives of Him here on planet earth.
September 30, 2022, would have been the 111th birthday of one of those dear souls. When I was in my late 20’s, I met a woman who helped me come to understand that a fierce fight to always do life on my own, without help or guidance, was a remnant of a past that said no one was here to help or care about me; and it did not provide health or healing from that past.
The thirty-five-year relationship I shared with this woman, whose name was Dolores, laid a foundation that emphasizes the importance of reaching out for help, learning from a mentor and practicing the art of being a mentor myself.
On the anniversary of Dolores’ birthday this year, I spent several hours reflecting upon the lessons she taught me. I offered God gratitude and praise for sending her to me when I was a broken, lost spiritual refugee, determined to do life in a way that would have been destructive to me and others.
To honor my mentor this year, I have released a second edition of my first book called, “Dolores, Like the River.” I have added a subtitle, on the advice of other beautiful souls and mentors, “The Life-Altering Influence of a Mentor.” It is my prayer that for those who were, like me, born into and raised in a family that taught us we were on our own and it was all up to us to survive and thrive the best we can, this book will be a balm for their souls and perhaps inspiration to find a path where reliance upon God and others provides health, healing and wholeness.
More importantly, I hope every reader of these pages and words will realize that one of the best gifts we are given is in the form of another person who cares enough to help us be who we were meant to be. And when it comes their time to be that balm for the soul, that helper in the storm, that one honoring tears and respecting time needed for healing, they will take that assignment with gratitude. As Mother Teresa told us decades ago, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” I’m thankful Dolores modeled that for me and taught me to model it for others.
Yes, we do belong to each other. Let’s remember that in our broken, divided and sometimes hostile world. Let’s find ways to be a positive force in another life, in our churches, countries and world. In the end, the truth is, we are all mentoring others whether we realize it or not. But how it is done can often have an effect one way or another. When we reach out to others, we not only help create better and more life-sustaining communities, we give others permission to reach out too when they discover they can’t do it alone.
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Check out the books I have published
“Dolores, Like the River: The Life-Altering Influence of a Mentor” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page and I will send you an autographed, personalized copy.
The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.