to my mentor

I walked on the waterfront this weekend. My footsteps were slow, measured, taking in the new feeling of clarity, of answers after the long summer of questions and hopes. I walked, and thought of you. I thought about how it has been a while since we sat here, cups of passion tea lemonade all but abandoned at our feet, my hair flying behind me as my hands act like windmills to illustrate my point. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you laugh and tell me to get a grip on reality.

But when I called you on Friday night, curled up in my bed, and heard your, “Hey,” I knew that not much had really changed, even if it’s been months since that encounter with Mary in that church in Mississippi. I knew that nothing important had changed, nothing of who we are, and how we are. Maybe we’re softened a little by life, certainly by grace. Maybe we both grew up a little bit, scrambled over mountains and out onto open plains. I know we had deserts and I know we had hurricanes (we both know if God didn’t send them to me, I was sure as heck going to make some of my own). I also know we had rainfall and manna and provision.

I walked on the boardwalk in complete silence. I went into the Book Rack and browsed for an hour, because I knew I was lonely and needed to be with words. I bought this funny book called, The Lover’s Dictionary, that’s a love story told as entries in a dictionary. Alphabetical and everything. It’s brilliant, and it felt at home with me. I bought two cupcakes – this hazelnut one I’d never seen before, and the raspberry vanilla one that’s always been my favorite. I carried the pink box back to my car like a silent promise that I’d be brave and give my heart back to God, like you told me to.

I don’t know how to say thank you, and these words are reaching out trying to tell a story that is better told through other things – like beaches and waterfronts and cupcakes, like humidity and fear and courage and wine – but you know that sometimes I write to remember, or to say thank you, or just to remind me that I am me. Today is a little bit of all three.

I hope that carpet glue story STILL makes you laugh because it’s so epically Hilary that if it was the only story you heard this year you would know it was me.

I hope you don’t ever forget that hard conversation we had over pad thai my freshman year where you said, “so quit,” and gave me the courage to be truthful. And now God has so covered all of the journey in grace that I’m being confirmed in a few weeks and going to confession for the first time soon. And it’s still all a mystery.

I hope you soak in those highlands and lakes and the rich air of Scotland. I hope you let it feed you. I hope you come back full to overflowing.

I don’t think wisdom is about the things you know anymore. I think wisdom is how you dwell with what you have been given. How you understand it, learn from it, cherish it, release it – how the one life you have becomes the bottomless well from which you give life to others.

You taught me that.

Next time I see you, let’s go for a walk on that boardwalk with those cupcakes. I can’t wait to discover what else you have to teach me.




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