Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Virtual Mentors

If it were possible I would just invite her over for tea or for a pancake brunch. Due to distance and mostly stardom- I will have to settle for a virtual mentorship. I have always loved the words and works of Maya Angelou. She has shaped several of my philosophies about life and love. Simply hearing her voice through the television or radio makes my heart rise a bit.

I have been thinking recently about the multitude of authors, mentors, personalities and ministers who help shape my life and calling. The front-runners that come to mind are Sue Monk Kidd, Barbara Brown Taylor and of course- the one and only-Maya Angelou.

Sometimes when I am at work, I "youtube" interviews, lectures or sermons of those that I admire. I figure mentoring can happen anywhere-even if you don't even know them perosnally. So today, I met with Maya Angelou. In the privacy of my corner office she and I had a chat.

In our "chat" Maya made a statement regarding her faith that I am still contemplating. I am still tossing it around and around in my mind. She is eloquent like that though. Her words are more than often prophetic and always wise.

This is what Maya shared with me today:

"I am trying to be a Christian. Of all the things I’ve said this is the most important. Trying to be a Christian is like trying to be a Jew, or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Taoist. It’s not something you achieve and then you sit back thinking, ‘whew, I’ve got it’. I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say ‘I’m a Christian’. I think, ‘already, goodness gracious, I’ve spent over 70 years working at it'. So, what I’m trying to do, in everything I do is to be a representative of my God. I am made by God. I am God’s child. I am trying to show that I respect it and I am appreciative of it.”

If I could have it my way, however, we would move our conversation from the stuffy confines of an office to the fresh and carefree ambiance a front porch lends. Perhaps we would shell peas together and drink pink lemonade. We would talk for hours- mostly Mrs. Angelou, that is- about life, love and everything in between. Our conversation would last so long that I'd have to bring out a light blanket and turn on the front porch lights. We would watch the moths collect around the burning lights and occasionally swat a misquito or two. It would be one of those Holy moments in life where you wish time would stand still. If the hands on the clock could stop long enough, you could take in the aroma of left-over coffee, the feel of the cool night air and the sound of an old squeaky porch swing.

What about you? Who would you invite to your front porch?



Blogger Meg said...

I saw Maya once at her house in Winston-Salem. Every time I visited Sarah while she was in school there I'd make her drive by her house in a stalker fashion. The only time we ever saw her she was walking to her gigantic tour RV. I wish I'd been able to invite her to my back porch!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Suzanah said...

I saw Dr. Angelou once too - at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. Amazing. Somewhere I have a picture of us together.

Molly Marshall, Sarah Shelton, Valerie Burton, Pam Durso . . . that would be a great chat. I'm going to need a screened porch and there definitely have to be fireflies.

6:56 PM  

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