I took a leave of absence from writing. Nobody seemed to really notice but I did. There’s no excuse but the reason is I have really been trying to think about what it is I’m trying to say here.
I continue running into a wall when I think of what exactly I’m trying to communicate. And what exactly was my goal here from the beginning. I honestly don’t know. I mean, I know I had a goal to write and I sort of accomplished that. But what else was I hoping to achieve? I really couldn’t say.
Because some of what I have said feels preachy or life-coachy and I am neither one of those at all. At least I don’t intend to be. I mean, if you want to Costanza it up and do the opposite of everything I do, go right ahead, because you’re more likely to find success that way. Most of what I have done over the past (almost) 20 years is make a steady stream of dumb mistakes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that mentoring is really a small part of the difference that I want to make in the world. Because what exactly was I hoping to accomplish with mentoring? I was hoping to guide young people through life and possibly avoid repeating the same dumb mistakes I’ve made. I was hoping to help turn someone into a productive member of society.
The truth is that I don’t want to seem fake or dishonest. I don’t want to feel like my message has been inconsistent. I can’t possibly make a recommendation to someone which I myself wouldn’t follow. And there seem to be a ton of people out there who will, I just can’t be another nincompoop adding to the noise.
I started almost 8 months ago and I basically had 2 points: Mentoring is important and so are churches. None of that has really changed.
But the problem is I have learned how intimidating mentoring is to other people. There is just so much risk in doing the work and most people can’t imagine being that generous and vulnerable, especially if no one ever did something like that for them. And at the same time, I think many are like me saying, “I’m too messed up to mentor someone else. What am I going to tell them? Don’t be like me?”
And as far as church goes, well that is just too audacious for one man to go for. I’ll just leave that to the Holy Spirit. Practically speaking, how crazy does church seem to someone who wasn’t raised attending one? And furthermore, how could I, as someone who was raised attending a church, ever understand the emotions of anyone who doesn’t really ‘get’ church?
The truth about me is simple: I like helping others. And church and mentoring have been a big help for me so I want to share that with others too.
And then I realized, there are other things I know a lot about that I’ve taken a little bit for granted. How about gainful employment? One of the things I have done a lot of through mentoring is help young people get placed into jobs. And also help them to understand how to get jobs they actually want.
What about stable relationships? I’m pretty fortunate to have a family that loves me and a wife of 13+ years that still thinks I’m pretty neat (News Flash: I am neat.) but I also get to be a part of her family that has always loved me like a brother and son. How cool is that?
And that has led me to understand that there are many, many ways I believe I can help others. I just need to figure out what that looks like and how I can best serve my neighbor by sharing that with which I have been blessed. And I can help not just a handful of kids I can mentor, but anyone who has access to the internet.
So, how can I help you?