MENTORS & SECOND CHANCES

By Elisabeth Corcoran: I had known this woman for a few years simply as the mother of one of my best friends.  I knew a bit of her hard story, but only as it pertained to her daughter (my friend). Then my world started falling apart, one huge piece at a time.  I was lost.  The ways I had been living my life and getting through each of my days as a wife, mom, writer, speaker, social justice advocate, church staffer were no longer working.

My life was imploding and I literally did not know what to do.

So I asked my friend if she’d be okay with me borrowing her mom.  Her mother’s life had taken some similar twists and turns and I thought she could point me in the right direction.  It’ll just be one conversation, probably…maybe two, I assured her.  My friend graciously obliged.

So I emailed Charlotte and asked if I could come over, that I had some things on my mind and could I get her take on them.  If she only knew…

I showed up at her home.  She had classical music playing, a candle lit.  There were tissues sitting out, just in case.  Her Bible.  And there was a glass of water with a small plate of apple slices next to it.  She was ready.

And I began talking.  And talking.  And talking. I cried through telling her, as quickly and succinctly as I could, how my life was indeed falling completely apart and how I had no earthly idea how I was going to go on.  I asked her what she thought.  I asked her for help.

People, this is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  You must understand that I have amazing girlfriends. And I have been to nine – yes, count ‘em, nine – counselors. But having the courage to bare my soul to my friend’s mother and then, listen carefully, ask her for help was one of my wisest moves.

She told me she understood what I was saying.

She told me that she heard me.

She told me that this sounded all so very hard.

She read a Psalm to me.

She prayed with me and for me.

And she ended with this: she told me she had a few ideas of some things she and I could work on together, if I wanted to do that.  One of the best life decisions I ever made was saying yes.

That was five years ago.  Five years of talks on that couch.  Of tears.  Of prayers.  Of emails. Of movies.  Of eating take-out on her porch.  Of her hand on my forehead as she gives me a blessing.  Of listening, suggesting, correcting.  Of her love and grace.

I felt hopeless when I walked into her home that first time.  But she opened up her life and her pain and her heart and poured into me.  And I walked out filled with hope, that I would make it through, that I would be okay…that I would be, if I dared to believe it, more than okay.  That God saw me and would do something good in my mess.

I had felt like all my chances were up.  She reminded me that, as it turns out, my chances will never run out.

Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, and writes at www.elisabethcorcoran.com.

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