Mentors or How to Get Further in Life

Early morning on any beach is a magic time. But the Caribbean beaches are special. The best I’ve ever seen are in the Turks and Caicos. Their sand is as white as snow. Fine Carrara marble powder. Not even a speckle of dirt. It is so fine, you feel like walking on foam. And the ocean water! For a while, I even thought that the name of the islands came from the turquoise water surrounding the islands. Then I found out a local cactus, Melocactus intortus, has a hat looking like a Turkish fez.

One early morning, just before the usual crowds spilled on the sand, Bonnie and I took a walk on the beach. The sun was already up, but the beach yet quiet. The birds just woke up and, rested, greeted the new day with a morning exuberance. I watched the waves crawling up the sand and slowly retreating to the ocean, leisurely making their marks on the deserted beach. Most were lonely. They came and went, back to the infinite body of water. But some came on top of the others. They were the piggyback waves. Each attached to its forerunner. I wondered on what shore was the person who first thought of ‘coming in waves’. When I paid more attention to the timing of the waves and the relationship to the previous ones, I noticed a certain pattern. When the second wave came late, on top of the retreating one, it didn’t go far. It promptly disappeared in the anonymity of the ocean and left no mark on the sand. But when the following wave appeared a little earlier and piggybacked on the predecessor, it advanced higher than the previous one. And it left a curvy mark on the sand much further than the others.

Isn’t it like that in real life? Isn’t it easier to live when we have these special people to help us when we grow, to be around during our forming years? Parents? Teachers? Friends? I can vouch for myself. There were people in my life who appeared just at the right moment. I’ll remember their words forever and still live by their wisdom. I have friends who credit their success in life to that special person who appeared in their lives at that very moment when they needed a boost, a force to launch them into the higher orbit. These are the mentors, willingly or not, shaping our lives. Some of them famous for their prominence, some just, like the painter in O’Henry’s story ‘The Last Leaf’, only known for this single act of brilliance. How often we piggyback our lives to the lives of others.

And moments like these always come with stories we’ll remember forever.

Nothing new, since we know ‘Atoms do not form the Universe, stories do’.


  • Hello Dr.
    Your description of the waves put me on that beach.
    Thank-you for the visual.
    And yes indeed….it does take a village.

  • Our lives are all about Relationship, Purpose, and Legacy. Relationship = with God, family, friends. Purpose = an understanding built upon knowledge of why we are here. Legacy = what remain when our authority on this earth has passed. We are responsible for creating something that becomes a tile in the grand mosaic which is not fully understood until we leave behind our earth suits (flesh) and our spirit reaches our final destination. Thank you for reminding and sharing from you unique perspective.


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