Over the weekend, I visited found myself in Kansas City. I was there to speak at an interfaith service and a press conference in support of worker justice. That’s not what I want to talk about.
What I want to talk about is how two of my dearest friends, both of whom have served as mentors to me throughout my ministry, live in Kansas City and how getting to spend time with them was soul-enriching.
I talk to both of them frequently. I have to – my sanity requires it.
I rarely get to sit with either one of them, though – and when I do I find my spirit gets lifted up. I was grateful that over the three days I was there I had good, long, quality time with both of them.
I have had occasion through my years in Ministry to many mentors, guides, spiritual directors, coaches, and guides. Sr. Joan, Fr. Cormack, Jane, Bill, Davida, Larry, Rebecca, and Mel are among the most impactful.
But these two, Sam and David, have been there from the start of my ministry to this very day. They are there to listen, to cajole, to dig, to encourage, to embolden, to process, to question, to empathize, to chastise, to focus, to offer wisdom, insight, experience, compassion, and hope.
I can’t imagine either succeeding or staying sane in ministry without someone like them in one’s life. There is no template of manual that simplifies the enormous complexities that come with providing care and attention to human beings. Fulfilling one’s call as a minister is more an art form than a science. Finding a wise elder who has been through this before is a crucial element to being faithful in one’s calling. They are gifts that I try not to take for granted.
I call them when I am confused and need clarification.
I call them when I am angry or hurt and just need to vent.
I call them when I am proud and want to brag.
I call them when I am tired and need to be sustained.
I call them when I am frustrated and need perspective.
I call them when I am uncertain about my motivations and need honesty.
They are always there. Always. I am grateful for each of them, and they have helped shape me into the person I am today.
Ministry is hard.
Life is hard.
I hope you have someone that serves as your guide. I hope that your own spirit can be comforted and uplifted by the kindness, wisdom, and persistent nudging that only a good mentor can provide.
For all of the challenges you will face on the journey, may there be sufficient support.
For all of the frustrations you encounter on the journey, may there be sufficient empathy.
For all the confusion you encounter on the journey, may there be sufficient wisdom.
For all the joy you encounter on the journey, may there be another to share it with.
And may all of it enrich you as you pursue your call Into the Mystic.