The other night I was sitting outside in the middle of my backyard at 3am. I was actually out there long enough to see some stars and enjoy the view. It was gorgeous. Because we live in a city and have an airport next to a body of water, lights are reflected quite a bit and our sky is never truly dark. So in order to get a good view of the stars, it takes some patience and time spent staring at the sky at … well… 3am.
Did I mention I really like my sleep?
But… we have a puppy.
And because of this adorable little ball of fluff (that will soon grow into a giant, shedding, but still adorable ball of fluff), I was sitting outside in the middle of my yard at 3am.
She is the cutest puppy in the entire universe, and our whole family is enamored with her. But the fact remains – she is a puppy. I couldn’t fault her for the fact that she was howling until I took her outside at 3am. I also couldn’t fault her for the fact that she was running around, happy to explore, play, sniff the air, feel the breeze in her fur, and do anything and everything EXCEPT what we came outside for her to do.
I sat there, with the dew seeping through my pajamas and a chill setting in, and watched the stars become visible to my adjusting eyes.
It’s amazing what we see when we take the time and have patience enough for our eyes to adjust.
And in that moment, my puppy was a leader.
Just learning her way.
Clearly she will be bigger, better, smarter, and do wonderful things when she has grown. But right now I cannot fault her for needing some extra hands-on attention. I cannot fault her for making mistakes and being a bit obnoxious to me as her mentor.
What I can do, is continually be thankful for the developing leaders that God places in my life. I can go the extra mile, and even loose some sleep over their development. I can encourage and redirect when something goes wrong or becomes an unhealthy distraction. I can reward and celebrate small steps of growth.
And while I’m at it… God’s developing patience in me. And I’m pretty sure that as I allow that time to pass, I’ll get to see some stars.
So here’s to all of you mentoring others.
Keep at it. Be intentional. Because this is worth it.