Sometimes people come into your life for a moment, a day, or a lifetime. It matters not the time they spent with you but how they impacted your life in that time. Unknown.
In life things will come and go but people will always be our treasure. I am reminded of that more and more these days. I've experienced a few deaths and some other situations that really have me thinking, which is dangerous in and of itself. Each person that touches your heart brings with them gifts. It may be the gift of love, understanding, compassion, strength, commitment, loyalty... and the list goes on. I have gotten an entire day of joy from a lady in the grocery store that just smiled at me. She MADE my day. That's huge to think we have such an enormous influence on someone else's day and ultimately life. These 'gifts' could also be something more negative and harmful that may teach you life lessons that will hopefully stimulate growth and resilience. Whether that person/people remains in our life or not, the fact is that they imprinted something, positive or negative, on us that we will carry with us for the rest of our days. (Hopefully that imprint wasn't as deep as Twilight, but Jacob....) After teaching a class the other night I went to bed thinking about the many gifts that each person possesses, where they came from, and how so many of us fail to see the light that we carry inside. Many times we dwell on negative experiences or people and in turn get stuck with blinders on to the sheer beauty in us and around us. We are all so different, and our beauty can blossom in such incredibly diverse ways, but we get paralyzed by comparison. We devalue how instrumental we can be in someone else's life. (On a side note occassionally we overestimate how important we are in people's lives.) I believe that we (the proverbial 'we') also struggle to value the people in our lives, in that moment, for exactly who they are. We take for granted that they will always be there. Or, sadly, we want to change them into exactly what we want instead of looking at them in their entirety. Sometimes we only get what feels like a moment with people. Goodbyes, in large part, are plain hard, especially when you have no choice in it, but I think we need to appreciate and value what each relationship is/was ... and who we became because of it.
Have you ever been with a grandparent or even a parent and they start telling you about their past? They get that smile because they are remembering something from way back and as the story flows you may hear one name, or another, over and over again. Or they stare off thinking about 'the good ole' days.' Their good friend. The way they used to go dancing and wear hats with some people etc.... They are remembering, and to them it doesn't feel like that long ago. That someone or group of people was someone that you never knew. They, however, impacted a person you hold so dearly, in a tremendously intimate way. That's beautiful. One of the hidden themes in stories like that is that they tend to remember the GOOD times...time takes away the bad even when the scars that are left helped to shape us. I love those stories because it shows me I'm not alone in treasuring those that may not be a part of my daily life any longer. It also reminds me that although I may have scars, they do heal. Some of my most negative relationships taught me lessons that have had undeniably positive impacts on my most treasured relationships today! For that I'm grateful.
Quite a long time ago I filled out one of those Facebook questionaire thingy's.....clearly I needed more to do at the time, but whatever. I did it anyway. One of the questions was something to the effect of "Most Painful Thing In Your Life", I answered, "A Broken Heart." (Before we get up in arms here, I wasn't just talking about 'boys', I was also talking about friendships or even family that we had lost etc... Broken hearts can take on many different meanings.) Oh my goodness the responses that I was receiving was overwhelming.. People hadn't thought of that. HUH? (Am I the only sap in the room?) They were naming broken bones, labor etc...true physical pain, for sure. (Listen I gave birth to a 9Lb 8 OZ broad shouldered baby, and carried a 10LB 9 Oz baby- I know a thing or two about physical pain. It fails in comparison to emotional scars. Let me tell you.) You with me? There is nothing more painful than a person who is no longer in your life, especially if you cared about and/or loved them. There is also something so painful about someone who remains in your life but does not share the same value you do in that relationship. That's the stuff movies are made of. I try to remember that sometimes it's not about me, it's how I can impact them. God put them there for a reason. Many times, there are no words that can completely describe the hole left by someone who isn't filling or can't fill it any longer. One could argue that for all the negative that social media gets, platforms like Facebook etc. have helped us reconnect with old friends, view glimpses into their life, and have helped to mend some of those old wounds or longings.
Although I don't know everything (or much of anything sometimes), I have learned a thing or two in my old age (wink). Not only can we not be all things too all people, we CAN NOT control all situations, other people's hearts, God's plan or anything else in between. Sometimes it's matters of the heart, decisions made by others, illness, age, and proximity that separate us from someone that made their mark in our life. Occasionally it's the value of things not people. These disconnections can be painful. Some are rooted in family that we've lost. Some could have been friendships from a fundamental time that lost touch over the years. For many; a love that just didn't work out or that was lost. One of my favorite quotes, that my friend Ashli says often by Billy Currington "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy." TRUE DAT. All kidding aside, no matter what the title that person or people held in your life (or how crazy they are/were), they were PEOPLE in YOUR life. THEY MATTER. They mean something, or they may have meant everything. Many of them helped to shape us into the people we are today. We may not always want to, but we must recognize a persons impact for what it is and look for value in all situations so that we can be better because of them. We need to own it, take the good, accept the bad, and move on so that our own light can shine. Whomever that person/people may have been they helped us become us. It matters.
Here's the deal: I also think we have a responsibility to be honest and fair to those in our life. That should go without saying but truthfully I think we forget how much impact we can have on those around us. Many people get caught up in how they feel instead of how they are making someone feel. We need to connect and be deep with those that matter to us for the time that we have them. We MUST pour goodness into people and remember the fact that we may be that person that someone longingly thinks of some day. Things change. Life changes. I think about people in my life that are no longer a part of my daily, weekly, yearly life and I appreciate what we had, but also realize that what I truly have is the here an now. If we choose to use it correctly our impact on those around us can be, will be, unbelievably meaningful and life lasting. People are beautiful, sometime we need to help them see their own beauty. Pour into them. They will reflect, if not today, one day, on who we were in their life, and hopefully evaluate our impact as something positive, fruitful and a true gift to them.