My spiritual mentor is tiny in stature, yet fierce in strength. If you walked into a room, you wouldn’t notice her. Soft spoken voice and quiet laugh, she blends into a crowd.
I met Eileen when my husband and I attended a lunch at a new church. Before we walked through the gymnasium doors, I scanned the room, and quickly directed my husband to make a run for it.
The room sat empty, and you know what an empty room means, lots of time for chit-chat and you know what chit-chat means, people trying to connect with you, and you know what people trying to connect with you means, potential relationships.
“We can just pretend we were looking for a bathroom,” I pleaded.
“There’s a table for all of us right here,” Eileen motioned. I wanted to point out there was a table for us anywhere in the empty room, but instead, we followed along.
And that’s when it started. Eileen’s pointed questions and intensive listening.
She learned my husband and I were newlyweds residing in a new state. We slept on an eggshell cushion minus the mattress and ate every variety of pasta off a handmade coffee table minus chairs.
Eileen laughed and shared about her own early beginnings. A week later, she and her husband showed up at our apartment with a folding table and four chairs.
She saw a need and showed up.
Eileen and I started meeting once a week in coffee shops and parks, and we began reading the Bible.
I explained how people should come to Jesus cleaned up, and she reinforced God accepted us as we are.
I confessed marriage was harder than I thought, she agreed and promised it would get easier.
I deemed the Bible one big mess of crazy stories, and she prayed and taught me about life in ancient times.
But Eileen’s support didn’t end there.
Eileen and her husband thought there were more newly married couples who might need mentoring, and so they started a class which grew into twenty-six couples. That group of young married couples saw each other through new jobs and fierce heartbreak, the loss of parents and the birth of babies.
Our group camped and skied and found ourselves in spelunking in underground caves. We celebrated Thanksgiving with overcooked turkeys and Easter with plastic eggs, and together, our group of young couples witnessed strangers morphing into family.
Eileen stood in back of it all. Quietly encouraging and constantly praying.
Years passed and our group wasn’t considered newly married any more. Eileen and I met less. Couples relocated and forged on in new stages of life and our newly married group dissolved.
I assumed that would be the end. After all, that was eleven years ago.
This year, I received a Christmas card from Eileen and her husband. In a picture included on the card, they were planted in the middle of a group of fresh-faced young married couples. I smiled as I wondered which couple they cornered at the spaghetti luncheon and how many people have been impacted by a quiet woman with a soft laugh and an unshakeable love for God.
Your turn. I’d love to hear about your spiritual mentor. Tell, tell.