An unknown poet once wrote that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
This poet suggested that once we figure out which one it is, we will know what to do for each person.
While I agree that the length of time each person spends in our lives is undetermined and variable, I don’t know that they should be treated differently according to the length of their stay.
My viewpoint is further complicated by the idea that I don’t subscribe to the notion of everything unfolding according to the plans of a higher power. I believe that value can and should be found in all of our experiences but the “reason” is usually the product of reverse engineering — not divine purpose.
When I look at the people who showed up at just the right moment before disappearing, the people who walked with me for a while, and the people who are permanent fixtures in my life, I see one thing that puts them all in the same group: those who have left their mark on me.
None of us exists in a bubble. Of course we all have the core essence of our being that I like to think is unaffected by our experiences but we also have the parts which are born, defined, and developed by the people we rub up against.
I recently parted ways with someone who I thought was going to be with me for a lifetime. She helped me through some difficult times, she reassured and supported me, she loved me, and she treated me like I was essential — not optional. She left a mark that will never go away even though she did.
If she hadn’t come along when she did, I almost certainly would have taken my own life. In retrospect, that seems like a reason. Because our forever plans were disappointed by a variety of factors, she was only here for a season.
The time we spent together literally added years to my life. It allowed me the time to learn that I am valuable and lovable. It changed the trajectory of my life forever.
She’s gone, and happily ever after won’t happen with her, but she is a part of me for a lifetime.
Listen to the podcast version of this (and other) stories at www.acfischerpod.com