Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mentorship Matters

I shared these opening words at my church this morning. I share them with you here:

It’s hard to fall asleep at night when there is so much uncertainty in the air. Every day yields another crisis that leads me to deep worry and even sadness. Somehow lying awake in the dark trying to make sense of things is my way of thinking I can fix it all by worrying about it.

Turning worry into action is hard for me given the limited energy I have. I’d love to hit the streets in protest, march with activists, visit politicians’ offices, attend planning meetings for social reform. But I’m left with the strong emotional reaction to political events and no significant outlet which is hard for a passionate person like me.

So … what to do….

The American culture has always placed a lot of worth on action as a force for change. And there’s no denying that a concerted effort like a revolution can work. So maybe, for me and others like me, the challenge is to redefine the concept of “action” in a culture filled with very public “doers”. 

We often overlook small acts when faced with a large problem. We forget that chipping away at a wall can change it. We don’t have to knock it down to affect its height. 

Being part of a peace-seeking community no matter how small is an important act and the first chisel strike to that wall. Within this community we are given the opportunity to positively affect others. In my volunteering with youth here I started the act of mentorship years ago which for me did not end with high school graduations. 

The small act of offering advice and support, and just being there for the latest generation of doers is action. Chipping away at the walls that impede their progress toward changing the world is chipping away at the walls facing all of us. 

I find that the only thing that helps me worry less when bad things happen in this country is reading the social media posts of the youth that have been mentored in this church. I have to weed through some less-than-uplifting comments from my generation to find theirs but there they are. 

January was National Mentoring Month but the act of mentoring our youth here is something we do all the time. It will never appear on CNN but It is an important act that arms the next generation with the chisels they need to knock down those walls. Don’t think they can do it?  Just watch the youth from Parkland, FL.

I light the chalice today for the quiet acts that we do to change the world and the recognition that small acts done today can make a big difference in the future.