One Mentor's Story
Cory, DSABC and Me - by Mike James
What I would like to do in the next 5 minutes is describe for you the ideal mentorship. I would like to give you a model to help you take all your interpersonal relationships to the next level. That's what I'd like to do. But the fact of the matter is that the story of Cory and me is not spectacular. Except for its duration, it is not particularly noteworthy. One might even say it is mundane. It is difficult to describe Cory and me because our relationship is abstract. To help frame a picture, I will use some familiar similes and metaphors.
We met when Cory was in 3rd grade. Cory walks into the school counselor's office and we meet for the first time. I thought he was awfully small. He probably thought I was awfully tall. Thankfully, I don't think he noticed my knees shaking. We would meet in her office, the gym, or any vacant room we could find. Fortunately, Cory did not need tutoring from me. His reading speed and comprehension was at least equal to mine. So, we were just to hang out. He consistently beat me at checkers and chess. Very soon I nixed board games. Vocalization is not high on our list of things we need to do. Fact is, if the school nurse had wandered into our space, she might have wanted to take a pulse. We are like an old pair of shoes. Comfortable in each others' presence. Or like an old married couple. No words spoken. Sitting in silence. Not awkward, but at ease just sharing the oxygen in the room.
We gravitated to the outdoors. Found a picnic table, then the playground. Location didn't matter. Hiking, and fishing and cookouts became our thing. At first I dragged him up the trail along Lake Zoar. Later, he, me. Now we just walk side-by-side.
Cory had had some unfortunate life circumstances. Batted from pillar to post, he was a young graduate of the school of hard knocks. He had learned to bob, weave and roll with the punches. He never spoke a word about that. He never complained or criticized anyone.
One day, after a not uncommon long silence, and in a rare revelation, Cory tossed out that he was being bullied. He could not know the fury I felt. At last, my opportunity to intervene! To "help". But, in typical fashion, he let me know that he would handle it. Turns out, it had happened before, and he knew what to do. After a week, it was still a problem. By week 2, it was no more
Along came the Sharps - Laurie Joy and Joey. Humangels. Half human, half angel. They already had 2 teenaged boys, but they were to adopt Cory. "Adoption" does not do justice to what happened. Cory was re-born into the family, a 5 foot 6 bouncing baby boy - fully at the table with a Mom, a Dad, and 2 brothers. "Why did you adopt a boy?" I asked Joey one day. "We prayed about it. And, well, we just know how to raise boys." he said. Amazing.
A few weeks before all the legal stuff, Laurie Joy and I were observing Cory through the school library window. "Isn't he beautiful!" she said to me. I had to do a double-take.
His birth into the Sharp family was 3 years ago. One day after a prolonged silence, I said to Cory, "You know, you don't need me." Long silence.
"I know", he said.
We never spoke on that subject again.
"How long do you suppose we will be together?" I asked him one day. Long silence.
"I want to dance at your wedding" I said.
"I will cry at your funeral", he smiled.
Laurie Joy was right. He IS beautiful.
How do I describe Cory and me? Cory and I are a common thread in a huge fabric we call a village. We are two ships passing in the night.
How do I describe Cory and me? Well,...we just are.