It is important to me to remember that we all have our own journey that we must travel, but along the way, we have companions that enter and exit our lives. Their stay may be long or it may be brief. It helps me to think about the philosophy of a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We all have people who, when they left our lives, hurt us in some way. Others may have passed by quietly, perhaps relatively unknown, yet there is something to be learned from each and every one of them.
There are those who are there for a lifetime. These may be your siblings, parents, best friends, or even a romantic partner. These people are meant to be in your life long term. They can teach you many lessons, just as you can also teach them. These people grow with you, and they can be some of the most fulfilling relationships you will have.
There are the seasons as well. People who are there for as long as you need them, or as long as they need you. Once that passes, ways are parted and each goes along their journey separately. These types of relationships may end on happy notes, or perhaps not. Perhaps it was the first relationship after a divorce, where it taught you that you can move on and learn to love again. Perhaps it was a teacher that you had in school who taught lessons beyond the curriculum about life in general.
Those who are there for a reason may be simple or complex. Perhaps you are a service provider, and once the service is rendered, the individual goes on their way, perhaps never to cross paths again. But there are also other relationships that the reason keeps you connected with them for longer. These reasons are usually lessons to be learned, and the longer it takes to learn the lesson, the longer that person is connected to you. One of the lessons I had learned was to treat everyone with compassion for we do not know what happens in their personal lives. This comes from my experience of hiding things for over two decades. The realization that if I can hide many things from those around me on a daily basis, then it is also easy for others to hide similar, or even worse things too. We do not know all the intricacies that make a person behave how they do. Compassion is key. It took me longer to learn that lesson than expected, but along with that one, there were many other very valuable lessons that came from that twenty year reason. I use that example often as I consider how to manage my interactions with others. I believe that my compassion and empathy for others are directly relatable to the lesson I learned over those many years.
When you have someone who has exited your life perhaps unexpectedly, consider what purpose they had for you. What lesson was being taught to you for them to be there? What lesson did you learn after they were gone? Can you take that lesson and apply it to your life to make your life a more positive influence on those around you? Can you make someone else’s life a little bit better? Because to me, that is what this life is about…being a positive influence on the world around us.