Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Right Words

I had been mentoring Vivian for roughly three years. She is an extremely quiet girl despite her life experiences after just 17 -- soon to be 18 -- years. I enjoyed being with her despite the fact that talking with her, sometimes, felt like the world's hardest interview. As a journalist, that is not a compliment. I would craft my open-ended questions and she would still manage a yes, no, or I don't know reply most of the time.

Nonetheless, there was something that kept her coming back for more with me, and I with her. We lasted. We weren't a mentoring statistic. We were real, as real as a middle class white woman can be when paired with a Hispanic teenager and rape survivor.

Sure, I had thought about quitting on her. Eventually, I kind of did.

But, one time, just as I thought I had no impact on her, she came out of her shell and read me a poem while we were in the car.

The poem, which she found in a book, that I wish I could find, but cannot. But, it could have been written by her. It talked about how people think she is strong and tough, but she is not. She just wants to be loved.

Those words, as she read them, forced me to wipe tears from my eyes as I drove. I didn't want her to see. I asked for a copy of the poem and I know it's around.

I didn't quit on her then. I knew I couldn't. Ever.

******

The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2, by Marlo Thomas and Friends is one of those books that can bring lessons to you where ever you are.

The book is a collection of essays on topics grouped into topics such as The Simple Stuff, Taking Chances and Finding Yourself.

If you like books like Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul (just an example because this book isn't about writing) then you will probably like this one.

I was particularly moved by the essay, "Zen and the Art of Trying," despite the overused play on the title. The author spent just a day and a half in a Buddhist monastery in Japan. In the midst of the hard work of chores, she exclaims that she isn't doing a good job.

"There is no good. And there is no bad. All that matters is how much you try," the resident nun told her.

I don't know about you, but I could hear these words a hundred times a day.

There's much more in the way of lessons and inspiration, too. To find out more about this book, go to MotherTalk.

I'm grateful to be a part of a community that allows me to read books and give reviews because when you're just a mom things like this give you purpose beyond fixing meals that aren't eaten and changing diapers.


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3 comments:

LauraC said...

"All that matters is how much you try" should be my motto on the tough days!

bella said...

You just showed me a side to you that I knew was there, without knowing I knew.
Beautiful.

Bastet said...

That was beautiful. It is people like you, who refuse to give-up on someone, who make a difference in the world.

;)