I got a text the other day that read…
Have you ever just stopped and realized that if you hadn’t met a certain person, your entire life would be completely different?
It was followed up with:
You without question.
Instant tears. I am THAT PERSON??!! ...AND….I never really thought about being THAT PERSON to anyone before.
I don’t think that any of us really ever grasp the impact that we can make on someone else’s entire existence. I do know that we have that opportunity every single day, but sometimes we miss it by devaluing who we are to those that we come in contact with. I personally do this all of the time! I also think that sometimes that impact is on someone that may no longer be directly in our lives, but was still a huge part of the trajectory of it. This thought compels me to have continued conversations with my kids. I’m constantly throwing spitballs at the walls hoping that something sticks eventually. (If you have teenagers, you feel me.) Relationships, both platonic and romantic, are critical building blocks on the foundation of our lives. They may last a hot minute or a lifetime but you will leave each person with your own handprint in the wet concrete of life. They will do the same for you. Have gratitude and be aware of the fact that your actions will become memories to the ones you touch. (I hope that I’ve left some good ones.)
...here is the story of two friends. A boy and a girl.
I don’t know how I met him, and I’m not going to ask him because I could be embarrassed. It’s a theme (winking at you Mr.). We were an odd couple. Well, the truth is that we were never a couple at all actually. The fact that we were friends did draw a few looks back in the day. He was a junior when I was a freshman, which is the year that I met him. One of many words that I think when I think about him then was ENERGY. He had both literal energy and he gave off this contagious vibe that I absolutely loved (still do). He smiled a lot…naturally my tinsel covered smile was drawn to his magnetic smile. It had nothing to do with our personalities (ha). Together we were/are something...something special really. Buddies that cared deeply for one another. The fact that he was a boy and I was a girl, and there was NEVER (do you like how I reiterate that so passionately even today) anything romantic threw people for a loop. We (well at least I did) got a lot of side looks, winks, and head nods, but we were telling the God’s honest truth. We were friends. REALLY GOOD FRIENDS. I honestly think that one of the reasons we worked as friends is because he must have a mute button in his head when I started talking. He cared a lot, or pretended to. GOD LOVE HIM. The dude let me talk ALL THE TIME… and if you know me that’s nauseating, EVEN TO ME. He even laughed at me, and I’m not funny!!!
When you’re young I don’t think that you always realize the power of your own heart, or the influence that someone else can have on it. I’m certain that not all of us can fully appreciate, in that space of time, that your actions, feelings, and decisions will carry on for your entire lifetime. They do. This is one of those relationships that I valued and protected from the start. One that I will carry with me until my last day.
Our way of hanging out was simple. He would go climb the local water tower by my house (I’m not kidding), probably, no, for sure, drink a few beers with his buddy, then come over to my house and sit on the couch and talk to me and usually my mom too. I’m not claiming that we were smart, I’m just telling the story. (So that you have the visual correct in your head: I was most likely wearing a onesie pajama outfit with those plastic feet, HUGE HAIR sticking out in all directions, sporting fashionable braces that were shining through my smile. He was in Umbro’s and a stinky t-shirt I’m sure. Still can’t figure out why anyone talked to me….or him…jabbing you buddy. Kidding he had friends coming out of his ears.)
Our sweet (not gonna lie, it just is) friendship continued. We stuck together through heartbreaks and triumphs, empathizing with each others pain, or cheering the other on. He went to college. Two years later I graduated, and that next year I moved away too. It was about this time that I met a sweet, smart, beautiful, spunky, salt of the earth, country girl, at a party, that neither of us should have necessarily been attending. She lived an hour and a half from where this party was happening (in the town that I lived in), but had come as a sidekick with another friend. That’s how things happen though right? Those life changing moments that we don’t expect or necessarily recognize as such at first. We connected instantly. (In a very Jerry Maguire kind of way. Giggling. YOU COMPLETE ME.) There were a lot of people at that party but I liked HER so deeply, and for whatever reason she felt the same about me.
She went home but our random friendship continued to grow. Fast forward some time and I was away at school. My smiling buddy is calling me frequently to make sure that I’m ok, of course. Unbenounced to each other the sweet girl was doing the same thing, ha. (Actually I think that I was calling her crying because I wanted to go home but whatever. That’s a different story.) A lifelong theme with these two.
I say this with a huge grin on my face, one weekend both of them wanted to come visit me. They didn’t know each other at all, but both were wanting to come give me a well check, I’m sure. They were just disguising it as they “really wanted to see me”. They missed me. I love them. So I’m in a dilemma. I have two random best buddies, that don’t know each other at all, coming to visit me in college, and I get asked to a dance. That’s a real head scratcher. What to do??? I have my moments when all wires are connected and the lightbulb goes on (or it could be extreme selfishness- you choose). What if I hook them up, and then I ditch them. (It sounded good writing it but I doubt that I was trying to ditch them. Most likely I didn’t even want to go to the dance.) I wasn’t as worried about him, but if this failed she may kill me. (THAT’S REAL TALK.) Thank God they made me look like Cupid, otherwise I may not be here to tell this story. This folks is my claim to fame, that I probably had nothing to do with, except that they both knew me, but I’ll take it.
An amazing marriage, beautiful kids, dogs, and life’s ups and downs later...two unassuming souls met that night, and began their forever. For them, I was the connection that joined their destined hearts. God’s vessel. I had no idea when I met him, at thirteen, that I would be a part of his evermore. No clue that I could have impacted his life so deeply. I’m so glad that I didn’t miss it. When I met her, in a place that I didn’t even really want to be that night, it was not even on my radar that I was meeting someone that I would be so blessed to witness fall in love with her soulmate, travel the world with, raise our kids together, laugh at life’s amazing journey, cry when things get tough, and a few other things that shouldn’t be written about. Someone that will be with me for my own evermore. A person that I thank God for daily. He knew I needed her then, and now.
Their beautiful love story isn’t all about love, or them, it’s a lesson about the connection and impact that we can have on one another. It’s about keeping our eyes open to the relationships in our life and recognizing how our hands, decisions, and intentions, can be the very thing that makes a difference to someone else. Today or in the future. It’s about not throwing these opportunities away. So many of us, young and old alike, get on this hamster wheel of life. We keep going around and around worrying about our own responsibilities and how the world is affecting us, instead of how we can affect others. If our focus were more outward and not in the mirror we wouldn’t miss a forever chance. If you really stop and think about it we all have that one, or maybe a few people, that if taken out of the equation our life would have looked so differently. That’s a gut punch friends. Your VERY BEING could make no difference, OR (I don’t want to miss the OR) it could make all the difference to a special someone. I’m humbled (however I allow myself to brag occasionally- IT’S A GOOD STORY) that because one friendship that is anchored in the awkward years of life, all those years ago, and one that God sent when I least expected it but REALLY needed it, I am THAT PERSON.