“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life, or you are the one who will change theirs.” — Angel Flonis Harefa
The quote above makes you think, doesn’t it? At the very least, you might consider the validity of such an assertion. Even if it’s for a fleeting moment. Who knows, there could be some surprises in store for you. The person you least suspect may have had the greatest impact on your life. Or will.
A friend once told me that his father, an alcoholic, would creep into his room night after night — all the while, he pretended to sleep. Kneeling down, close to the boy’s bedside, with booze heavy on his breath, he would stroke his young son’s hair and whisper: “Don’t grow up to be like me.” And, then he would leave the room. (My friend, a teetotaler, turned this sadness in his life into something positive. He went on to write books used in workshops designed to help children of alcoholics. And he was there, later, for his own son who combatted the disease.)
For me, I’ve spent more than a minute on Ms. Harefa’s philosophical observation. I’ve thought about those people who fill my life now, as well as others with whom I’ve crossed paths.
In doing this mental exercise, I focus on the positives. Because that makes me truly see and understand everyone in my life better. And I feel rewarded for really knowing them.
Here are a few tributes — lessons learned from long-time, in-my-life peeps:
Carole: So long ago I was at my wit’s end with a teen-aged daughter who struggled in school. A young inquisitive mind that I sadly was about to give up on because she was not me. Meaning she colored outside the lines; I, on the other hand, at her age, tended to do what was expected. Her “renegade behavior” turned out to be — in her life — a very good thing. But, at that critical time, the teacher in you calmed and reassured me. And you turned me around, suggesting — more or less — that square pegs don’t fit round holes. It turned out she learns differently. By recognizing that, I was better able to help and nurture her. Overall, it was a lesson in understanding.
Barbara: I was behind you in line at the grocery store, I think. And I was watching you laugh and cut-up with the cashier, a person unknown to you. Someone you’d probably never encounter again. I enjoyed the light-hearted banter between the two of you. You lifted his spirits, I could tell. And as he gave you your receipt, your change or whatever it was, you looked him straight in the eye to bid him goodbye. I admired how you reached out to someone unknown and connected. And so from that day forward, I’ve always tried to mimic you. Smiles swapped between two people are the best gift of the day. Overall, it was a reminder that we all are human and deserving. No one is better.
Denise: I hurt, and you cry. You have this uncanny way of getting right to the heart of a matter. You ask questions and you listen. And then you come back to inquire again how it’s all going. You aren’t afraid to tackle or share the most personal aspects life dishes up. You are up close and meaningful. I cannot just recount one story, because when it’s personal, they all seem important. You have reminded me continuously that the best friendships are not meant to be kept at arm’s length. Sometimes you have to get in the trenches with them.
Why certain people are in my life has caught my attention. I am entertained, because they remain such a staple to my being. Even though we are so different.
Yes, I think we do invite people into our lives for a reason. The interesting part is paying attention to how they contribute to you as a person.
Others important to me, since this has become a love letter of sorts to my peeps . . . .
Pamela has inadvertently taught me some things about accountability. Kathy: the importance of humility. Kate — patience and understanding. Kel: perseverance. Jimmy: independence. Teresa: living without fear of failure. Kitty: generosity. Helen: family ties. Bryan: living the moment. The list could continue.
I have also channeled positive lessons from those in my life who were less than kind, or impatient, or insensitive, or just unknowing. I think there is always a possible positive to a negative. It’s always how you choose to look at things. For the most part anyway.
So, the question of the day . . . who has impacted you the most and in what way? Can you find the positives in all the people you either know or love?