People in our lives

Life doesn’t always introduce you to people you want to meet. Sometime life puts you in touch with people you need to meet….to help you, hurt you, leave you, and love you. It gradually strengthens you into the person you are meant to be. ~Anonymous

I saw this quote today and it immediately struck a chord with me. It seemed to hit me right at home with some things on my mind as of late.

People come in and out of our lives all the time and for various reasons. As the saying goes, People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I, myself, am very guilty of trying to hold on too tight to people who are only meant to be seasonal ones. I try to hold onto everyone and make them lifetime staples in my life. I think that it is also fairly safe to say that many of you feel the same if you were to be completely honest about it. It is somewhat human nature for that to be the case I think.

Some people come into our lives and turn it upside down. That can either be in a good or bad way.  It is my belief that everyone we meet has been put in our path for a specific reason. It could be to teach us any number of things. It is up to us to determine what category to place these people. Their place in our lives can also be altered. Just because someone may be initially be placed in a seasonal status doesn’t mean that they stay there and couldn’t be moved to another place in our lives, such as a lifetime role. We are put in touch with people that we need to meet. We have all had people come into our lives that we thought would be there long term but are nowhere to be seen now. Was it a mutual decision or was no reason ever given? Who knows?

We all have people that we say we have regrets about. Am I right? However, would we be the same person we are now without them crossing our path? I’d say probably not. Did they leave you or cause you pain? Perhaps that was the lesson we were meant to learn from them. Without pain, how can we really feel and appreciate love? Without love, how can we feel and appreciate pain? Appreciate pain you may ask? Yes, pain sucks and nobody wants it. I get that. Without pain though, how can we really feel and appreciate the love in our lives.

People teach us things all of the time and we are usually totally clueless to it. All of these lessons build over time and make us who we are today, and who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow. We are ever changing. That is the beauty in life. People may hurt you, love you, leave you, or help you. All of these things make us who we are. If it wasn’t for the pain and hurt that you have endured, would you have the strength that you have right now? If it wasn’t for the love in your life, would you be as kind, caring, and warm-hearted as you are? If you took just a moment to think about your life, I could almost guarantee that you would be thankful for all that you have been through. Both good and bad. It all has combined to make you who you are at this moment.

We all need people in our lives. Every one of us. We need to know that we can still feel pain, love, happiness, and fear. To be reminded that we are not as cold and numb as we think we are sometimes. I am guilty of that as well. I feel cold and numb more often than not and am working hard to change that. I hate feeling that way. Yes, life has dealt me a lot of crappy cards that have affected me in a lot of bad ways. That does not have to define who I am or who I become. That is totally up to me, as it is up to you as well.

The people in our lives are also ever evolving. That is an absolutely great thing. That challenges us to grow and be better versions of ourselves by the things we learn and are taught by these people. Sometimes someone you have known a very short time has a deeper and more profound effect on your life than someone you have known for years. Feelings like love and happiness should not and cannot be determined by time. Someone you meet today may get you and understand you better than someone you have known for years. Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes? Perhaps the person that crosses your life is meant to learn or be helped by you. Maybe you can help them get through a rough time they may be having because you have been through the same situation, or a similar one. People aren’t just meant to help us become who we are. We are meant to help them become who they will be also.

I ask you to take just a moment today and do this one simple task. Just sit for just a moment and think about your life. Reflect for a moment on where you have been, where you are now, and where you want to be. Then thank the people that have helped you get to where you are now, both good and bad. You don’t have to physically thank them. I know that we all have people that we no longer want, or need, to associate with. Just utter a thank you out to them. Then, take a look at the people currently in your life. Thank them as well. They are teaching you things now that you will carry with you to help make you who you are meant to be in the future. You are NEVER alone in life, nor can any of us do this life alone. We all need each other, whether it be for a reason, a season, a lifetime, to help you, hurt you, leave you, or love you.

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Things Larry Taught Us

I guess that I should start by giving you an idea of who “Larry” is. He is the father of two friends that I grew up with that recently passed away unexpectedly. People that I have known for 30+ years. That is only the beginning. There was way more than that to that man. As I sit here writing this, I don’t pretend to have known him as well as some others that may read this. You see, Life has taken me away from this area several times in my adult life. Thus, losing close contact with many people. However, I write this based on my personal memories as well as stories and memories from people closer to him than I had become. Those include his children, wife, other friends, and even my own brother.

Larry was much more than a father, husband, neighbor, and friend. He was a teacher. He taught those who knew him many things. Some on purpose and for a reason. Others he taught us without him even knowing. He was one of the hardest working men, if not the hardest, that I’ve known. I don’t mean just physically. I’m talking about his determination and commitment to anything and everything he was doing. Whether it was his work, his family, his friends, or just things he liked to do. Whatever it was got his full and maximum effort. He was all in with everything he did. He believed that whatever it was, do it right. I remember growing up that he worked a lot, but when he was home, that’s what seemed to get his focus. That is one thing that has always stuck with me. The ability to multi-task while giving your all to everything. He taught us that. To give your ALL in EVERYTHING you do no matter how big or small.

He wasn’t just a father to his kids. He was like a father to us all. If it was jut his children, the neighborhood kids, or friends that came home from college. No matter how many or few of us were there, we felt like his own. He showed us what it is to have a warm heart and an open home. Sometimes kids just seemed to miraculously multiply, but he didn’t care. He showed us all love and respect. Don’t get me wrong, if someone needed to be set straight, he would be that kick in the pants too. Larry was a firm believer in the philosophy that you could do anything that you wanted to. You just had to give it the effort it deserved and set your mind to it. He lived that way as well. If he wanted to do something, he found a way to make it happen. Nothing was ever out of reach for him.

As he became older, health issues started creeping into the picture. That never slowed that man down. He fought against insurmountable odds at times through several battles. He always came out on top. He kicked cancer’s ass twice! No matter what tried to break him down, he got back up, stood a little taller, a little stronger, and just kept moving forward. Not once did any of it break him. If anything, it made him even more stubborn. I mean that in a good way. He refused to quit or even give up a little at all. He just kept fighting and living life to the fullest. Nothing at all was going to stop him or break his will. He lived life his way and that was that. He was very involved in his kid’s lives as well. I mean seriously involved. Every play, game, graduation, etc. If they were doing something, he was there. His family came first, and he wanted it no other way.

Sadly, he was taken from us recently. It came very quickly and unexpectedly. Just like that, he was gone. The man had taught us to be caring, loving, strong-willed, determined, committed, and stubborn men and women. The man that taught us about overcoming adversity and difficult things, living life fully, being happy, and opening our home to people. The man that taught us all so much more than I could begin to put into words here. The man that not only taught us with his words, but with his own actions and life. With his passing, we are each grieving in our own ways. Therein lies the last, and probably most valuable, thing that he taught us. He taught us that we need each other. That family is not always by blood.

Godspeed Larry. You are missed greatly, but we will carry on the lessons you taught us. You were and are more than a father, a neighbor, a husband, and a friend. You are family. Now, us family that you left behind will take care of each other. Rest easy good sir. You did your part. Now it’s our turn.