The Role of a Mentor

When I had initially chosen a spiritual discipline to pursue, that discipline being mentoring, I didn’t realize what this would really mean. I thought I’d be the one mentoring, picking a few scrawny grade nines or tens to guide.

I soon discovered most of them were very uninterested in a mentor that was only sixteen years old, and someone who didn’t seem to have much life experience as well.

Then, there’s my mentor. Fresh-faced at twenty-two years old – he’s not that much older than me, but still, he’s got more experience as a worship leader, and as a human being. He taught me a lot about worship leading (though if he’d ask, I’d deny it), and he gave me so many opportunities to take leadership.

However tonight, I learned that a mentor is a lot more than just someone you learn from.

Our youth group night had just ended. People slowly filtered out through the doors, or to a late night game of ultimate.

And I?

I was sitting on the piano bench with my mentor as he played the piano – in the key of D, I can distinctly remember. It’d been a heavy week, more so than ever, for reasons I’d prefer not to divulge (but you could probably glean the information from my poetry), and I found myself leaning against the piano, my head wrapped in my arms, as I listened to my mentor play. We didn’t speak, and I lost my voice from being sick the entire week, so I couldn’t really sing to the music anyway.

Every so often, he’d sing a few lings:

Leave your doubts behind.

Come to the Living Water.

Or other really relevant lines to my situation – and he knew that. I began crying not long after, my sleeves absorbing most of the water and snot.

“When you’re ready,” he had said, when the last of the youth left the room. He asked me questions – uncomfortable, personal ones. I couldn’t meet his eyes as I answered; instead I fidgeted with the keys. I told him that I would start seeing someone for what I was feeling.

Then, he asked, “Do you need someone to go with you?” My hands twitched when I heard that. “This is a big step. I’d go with you if you asked me.”

I said, “You know I’d never ask you. I wouldn’t ask anyone.”

He gave a little chuckle and replied, “I know. But you need to know that people are here to support you.”

Mentors are imperfect people – human, after all. Mine, well, he throws you into the water to teach you how to swim. He’s a little rough around the edges. But as he hugged me, prayed for me, I realized that he was also a pillar of support, even if his way of encouragement took a little time to get used to. He kept me accountable, and God used this young, twenty-two year old man-child to show me that maybe I wasn’t so alone after all.

Jan. 27, 2017

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