Contemplating Eli, and Being a Father, a Mentor

I’m repeating this poem from 2010, because folks have responded positively to it, and there are new readers of this blog who may now read it.When I was on a Teen Serve mission trip with a group of teenagers in 2010, I was pondering refreshment and being restored and Psalm 23, and probably had been reading from 1st Samuel.  My teenage son was sleeping yet, and 5 younger teenage boys in our group were sleeping too.  I had gone to devotions at about 4:00 that morning, had finished and was drinking coffee, when I was moved to think more about Eli, and his story.  What would I do now as I grew and continued to mentor youth in my church and in a larger community?

Am I in a parent role primarily these days?  Am I some sort of “priest” in my discipleship?  I seek God’s blessings as I coach young folks in my life.

Eli and Samuel

I noticed today that a longer stanza about young leaders is missing from this poem now.  I can almost see it in my mind, but not quite.  I need to go back to my 2010 journal, because I think that stanza may be needed again.  So perhaps, I will repeat this again in a few months.

As Eli, Restore Me, a Parent

These days in the Psalms,
Not just in funeral meditation, but

Comforted, Truly restored, Daily restored in the Psalms
Of our Lord,
I seize refreshment.
I yearn for restoration, joy and glowing in the Lord.
Possessing, seeing provision, peaceful,
Pardoned, always pardoned—so near to restoration—
And Partnered, Prepared, and praised by my Father,
Pardoned and prepared—for Paradise.
Am I here as Eli,
Surrounded by new and also known
Samuels and Sammies?
Have I come here as Eli—
More a priest, and now pulled back again
As a parent?!!
Am I now restored to Give my children
in service with a thankful heart?
These Samuels again are prophets so
Often—the fresh mouth-piece of our Lord.
Was I Eli so often?
Have I missed the focus with my kin,
In my daily work clans?
My expectation too modest?
My example—what is it I live?
Do I show it?
Do I walk the path with the visible gait
of going with God? Am I too tied
up in the trappings of career and rite?
Is my job today to listen to Sammy, to help
her practice, to obey?
To help him assume the position—to be quiet
and listen to our Lord?
To help them be proximate, embraced by God!

Lord, help me to see, to guide and coach the
Next Wave of Prophets.
Restore me Lord, a Father.

–Tom Bolton June 29, 2010

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About Tom Bolton

I'm a Husband and Dad, an Enterprise Systems Manager at the City of Milwaukee, and a Disciple and Lay Servant at First United Methodist of West Allis. I love working beside young people. As I study the Bible, sometimes I feel moved to work through my understanding by writing poetry. I also am going through a process to discern my calling, and to learn more about Christian Leadership. Sometimes I just feel like writing about something that grabs my attention too.
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