Monday, May 6, 2013

One Life Well Lived

She met me at the door. Her home was modest, neat, and tucked quietly in an enchanted-forest-like setting. Her small trim frame swung the door open as she beacons me to enter. She smooths back random strands of grey and white hair,  but the soft wisps still frame her face.

Nervously she chatters,  "Oh I do hope what I've prepared for lunch is to your liking!"

Feelings of guilt that she has worried, are overridden by my excitement that she bothered.

The table setting was framed by soft white and golden tones of light, that danced with shadows formed by sun streaming through trees, before they made their entrance into her kitchen. 

A thick white cotton tablecloth draped over the edges of an aged hardwood table. Intricate blue embroidery lace scrolls the edges and lays a beautiful canvas for the mixed and matched table settings.

She fusses over details. I ask her if I can help, but she waves me to take a chair.

One plump emerald colored glass vase, grasps hand-gathered daisies. My fingerprints are evident as I sip from the frosty, etched crystal glass. Small porcelain bowls were placed, one heaping full of steaming caramelized vegetables and another with rice. Then a miniature platter with fish was placed, to finished the informal banquet.  

I assured her that everything was lovely, that the experience was already delicious.

The truth was, I was hungry for what her heart knew, not for what she served.

Before we met as strangers and became friends, I often saw her sitting alone in church.

There was something that drew me to her. One day I just took the wild chance and asked her if she would be interested in being my mentor of sorts. I was starving for an older women to speak love, truth, wisdom and hope into my soul.

Graciously she agreed to meet with me. It was easiest if I came to her home, so this was our first brave meeting.

She prayed tenderly for  us and for the meal. Conversation was unstructured.  Her company, was sweeter even, than the freshly baked chocolate cake she served on translucent saucers. 

We stacked dishes and began to amass affection toward each other.

Moving then to her living room, she sat in the rocker-glider and fingered the worn leather spine on her Bible. Sitting straight across, in what seemed a small framed chair made for children, I pressed her to read to me. Wire rimmed glasses were adjusted, as she tilted her head to focus and Spanish words tumbled from her thin lips with perfect inflection and accent.

She and her husband had served as missionaries for decades and her fluency in the language had not been lost. 

Many things intrigued me about this one beautiful life she had lived. The fact she had been on the very same soil, as my virtual mentor, Elisabeth Elliot,  made it like breathing some kind of holy air. She being a writer made me hang breathless on every carefully crafted word she spoke.

We had conversations about the plot of her latest book in progress and her four children.  She was surprised that her stories thrilled me. I would prod her to tell me more. It was as if I had unearthed a secret vault heaped with rare jewels, diamonds and gold. Like a child I wanted to roll each precious stone in my hand and let them sift through fingers.

She was liquid treasure, dripping with the Spirit. 

As time passed and as we had opportunity to meet, we did. We decided to study 1 John together. Sometimes I brought take-out food. There were days the wind blew and we stayed inside and there were glorious afternoons when we walked on paths, in wooded areas around her home. She was a student of Creation, beauty, flora and people. Some paths took us deep into dark overgrown areas where the grass wasn't green and the sun could hardly pierce the tree tops. Some places had rickety hand-hewn bridges and paths where beavers crossed. We solved world problems and swapped recipes.

She awoke a sleeping wonder in my soul. 

She was a gift. 

Mostly she just listened.

She didn't judge me or gasp or even look surprised from the things that spilled out of my heart.

Her dimming eyes saw straight into my prodigal soul.

One day she announced that she had been told she was in the early stages of a cancer and that the time had come for her to move closer to family.

Our brief season together probably didn't seem like much of a "friendship" to her. To me, it was like drinking fresh, cold water from a pristine artisan fed spring. 

My mind often runs mental fingers over our times together. Every meeting lingers in the deep fiber of my being.

She quoted Titus 2 with her life, without ever speaking a word. She came along side me as a friend and teacher, making my life richer, my love for the Lord deeper.

She passed on to me things that cannot be purchased or attained, but by time spent in relationship.

In a sense she gave me fragments of a lifelong gathering of her soul  - - to pass the baton.

We didn't do a formal "mentor" plan. We did take a chance on doing some sweet life together and my life is better for her taking the time to be with me.

This year I have become more aware, as I walk the halls of our church home, that, now I am, the older woman. Adults that I think of as children, because they were raised with my children, are taking their rightful places as Pastors, praise team leaders and serving with their many other God given gifts. 


The baton is being passed.

I don't want to take that cue and become a person who just occupies a pew.

This season I walk in, I desire to speak life into fluttering hearts, courage into fearful humanity, touch the deep places of women... by being a friend, teacher and advocate to those who are open to me. 

I drove slow away from her home that last time. My lip quivered as the car bumped along the deep ruts of the narrow trail. The sun shimmered across the lake, highlighting the liquid ripples that lap and curl with the breeze. My emotions are more like white caps on my soul. Gratitude and tears washes over me for the time she opened her heart and home to invest in me.

* * * *

To have a mentor in your life is to have more life.

To have a mentor could quite possibly effect generations to come. 

No matter which age and stage of life, if we are walking with Jesus, we can be a mentor for God's glory.

Right now, who are you investing your life in? 

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