Commenting on yesterday's post, Paul raises an interesting point about the potentially fraught relationship between mentor and mentee. I suspect this might be a trait more common among dudes than gals, but usually when someone has the advantage of knowledge and expertise, it gets lorded over the wet-behind-the-ears chump standing in his shadow. Said chump is expected to put up with the abuse, a small fee for the few precious gleanings of technical insight.
As I mentioned in response, BD was not above copping a smarmy 'tude in the face of my ignorance — and neither was I, in response to his. If we knew anything, it was how to make the other rankle. And yet we became, and remained, fast friends for quite a stretch of years. When I finally married, I was astonished to see him show up at the final hour of the dinner reception, having endured a Planes, Trains & Automobiles journey to get there.
As I reflected yesterday over the various slings and arrows we endured from each other, I grudgingly had to admit to what kept us friends: prayer. From age 14 on, we were both standing members of our church youth group, schooled in the Evangelical Protestant prayer vernacular of earnest “Father God”s and “Lord, we just”s. Right from the get-go our burgeoning theologies were as divergent as our personalities.
But we could, on occasion, admit to inadequacy. That's when we bowed our heads and appealed to a Higher Power. And although I approached from the left, and he from the right, I think we felt like God was equally pleased to meet us both. “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” Some days the assurance of those words was a profound relief.
These days my intercessory mode is more liturgical. And there are precious few people I feel even remotely comfortable praying aloud with. I haven't talked to BD in years. Would the prayer conversation continue, more or less where we left it? It seems doubtful. But there are sleepless nights when I will my words beyond the ceiling, and whisper, May it be so.