Mentors and Awaiting the Child and Advent

Isabel Anders

“If the roles between man and woman are more a dance than a drill (ideally, as joyful lovers can attest) the relationship between the soul and God is also more of a flow in which grace and human choice, unmerited favor and our own will, act together in concert: in coinciding channels rather than separate connections. Gregory of Nyssa writes: ‘When righteousness of works and the grace of the Spirit come together at the same time in the same soul, together, they are able to fill it with blessed life.’”

Awaiting the Child, Isabel Anders 1987


I give Awaiting the Child to every friend I know who is pregnant during Advent, but it is really for the rest of us as well who are beyond the “awaiting” stage in life. Anders shares a journal she kept for the four weeks of Advent during her first pregnancy. I often put in a book the date I start reading it. In Awaiting the Child, it is 1987, the year it came out. Ms. Anders presently for three decades has been the managing editor for Synthesis, a monthly sermon preparation magazine based on the revised common lectionary. I will always be indebted to her for her help when I first began writing, encouraging me and suggesting places to send my writing. Phyllis Tickle was also a similar mentor. I can never thank them both enough for what they did, but I can resolve to “pay it forward”, to do the same for other writers who come to me. There are not words to describe how rewarding it is to have a relationship with a good mentor. The same is true for spiritual friends. A spiritual director is also a mentor of sorts, mentoring, encouraging, caring for the soul of a friend. I suggest to people in direction that they find a good mentor as well. This is someone they admire, someone who has talents, gifts they also hope to develop. Jungian psychologists and spiritual gifts leaders would tell us that the characteristics and gifts we admire in others are also in us, but we are not as aware of their presence. Just knowing this is very encouraging. See if this fits for you.