At the end of a big year (and what year isn’t ‘big’?) there are always people to thank – for being there for you, by your side, to journey with you, to listen, to advise, and to help you not give up when you feel you want to. Over the past two years there have been seven significant mentors I want to thank and acknowledge, but I will not mention them by name. Four of the mentors were male, three female. All of them are older than me.
Mentor 1 played a regular role in listening and asking the sorts of probing questions I hadn’t asked myself. This person also had a way of affirming the right things; those things I should focus on that I was already doing well at. This mentor was also very real about human frailty in her personal experience.
Mentor 2 I saw every three months. He’s known me from the beginning of my faith journey, but we only reconnected last year. He’s got a fantastic pastoral heart. His experience on forgiveness, grace, church life, and discernment he shares liberally – making him a classic mentor. He always seems to use his experience to inform me regarding the problems I have pastorally.
Mentor 3 is a person you get the impression can see through you. We all need one of these people in our lives, especially for the times we are tempted not to be real. She has a quiet and an inquisitive way. She is a pastoral supervisor too. This person has crafted the skill to move into the role of the moment and to be faithful to the role.
Mentor 4, like all the others, has huge ministry experience, and he is incredibly relational and humble. He’s also quite a passionate person (a bit like me) and loves extravagantly without losing his realness. He’s not been afraid of telling me what I need to hear, but he’s got a very respectful approach (which is something that really helps me).
Mentor 5 I’ve known very closely for the past eight years. He’s been able to see more of me in the flesh than any of the others. He knows the real me better than the others too. With over three decades in ministry, he’s been around the block enough times to have an instinct for when things are right and wrong. I can ‘vent’ with this mentor, which I find incredibly valuable.
Mentor 6 is the ‘journey with’ mentor who is never officially a mentor, but as you look back was there at all the right points, just doing little things to affirm and encourage and empower. She is versatile in ministry, with over two decades experience, very generous by nature, wise and compassionate. She is a very real person who invites those around her into their own realness.
Mentor 7 is a CEO-type, an innovator, and a person I can learn from regarding people strategies and networking. Somehow there is gold on his tongue every time we meet, which isn’t regular.
Mentors are there for you, by your side, to journey with you, to listen, to advise through the sharing of their experience.
Mentors don’t tell us what to do, but they do journey with us as if they were wearing our very shoes.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.