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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Traveling through life with a purpose: Meeting others for a reason, season or lifetime.

I guess I've always known that people come in and out of our lives for different reasons, though I haven't always fully accepted it.  Sometimes we lose them to relationships ending, sometimes we lose them to the death and sometimes if we are truly fortunate, we keep them for a lifetime.  I guess this is sort of a follow-up to a prior blog entry: The reflection across the pond: the connection of the past to the future which we embrace.

It seems cliche, but people do move in and out of our lives or stay in our lives for a reason.  I've heard it said that when relationships end, it is like a death where the other is still alive.  Of course when our loved ones actually pass on, it literally is a death.  Either way, it is easy to succumb to questioning God why?  It is easy to question Him, why do we have to feel the pain of loss?  The pain of loss may never truly go away, but with His help, often times we can gain a better understanding of their purpose or role in our lives and more importantly a serenity about it.

When it is a relationship--friendship, romantic or familial--that ends in a 'divorce', even if it was for the best, I believe it usually leaves a hole in our soul,  It can leave us in a state of bewilderment as in what the heck happened.   It's as if one day we were close, but figuratively a million miles away from that person, even if they are just up the street.  It can be cruel: the closeness we once--even possibly recently-- had has vanished.  In a way, the shell of the relationship is like a corpse that isn't buried, but in plain sight.  It is easy to focus on the loss of that relationship rather than the purpose or benefit of that relationship had during its lifetime.
  • The friendship that has faded over time or distance may have served us when we were going through a tough time.
  • The relationship we had led to new experiences that we may have never had otherwise and/or may have left us with a child.
  • The family member that has drifted away from us, may have allowed us to gain a better insight into ourselves and/or who/what shaped us in our formative years.
The key here is not to get stuck in the what ifs or why nots, but accept what is.  It can feel cruel, but given time to mourn and His help we can learn to appreciate what we gained from those relationships, rather than what ifs or why nots.

I've had friends abandon me and I've been divorced and both situations are painful, but I have been able to look back and see that those friends have often helped during the lifetime of the friendship.  Also, I know with my divorce, that though things ended out badly, I learned much about myself, did have some positive adventures, found out what is really important and how to be a better person.  Furthermore, I did gain a daughter.  In other words, I can move forward, because the relationship, even as it failed, wasn't a total loss.

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When a relationship ends with a death--even if it is expected, there is a certain shocking absoluteness to it.  When a relationship ends in a 'divorce', at least we can humor the concept that one day that the personal interaction or our state of mind will be reconciled at least to a healthier place.  In other words, there is a hope even after it is over, it doesn't have to stay awful.  Unfortunately, when a relationship ends with a death, it is frozen where it ended.  If the person died when we weren't 'at peace' with them, there can be shame associated with letting the opportunity to come to terms with them pass us by.  If the person died abruptly, we can be left without really having had the opportunity to say goodbye.  What can be especially cruel is if they die senselessly and we, in hindsight, 'should have seen it coming'.  Unfortunately, unless we are truly prepared for the passing by death of a relationship, it can take a long time, if ever to truly recover from.

Once again, however, after a time of mourning, we are best served by not being chronically stuck in the what-ifs or the 'Why God, whys'.  It is very difficult, but instead of focusing on the fact that we will never see that person in this life again, we should attempt to view things this way:


  • We were fortunate to have that person in our life for as many years as they were.  We were never promised any time with that person and the fact that they we got the opportunity to know them has enriched our own lives.  In other words, their presence in our lives for as short or long as it was, was a Gift.
  • If we are confident of their ultimate destination to a better place, we can rest better knowing the person's struggle with the challenges in this life have been replaced with something much better.
  • The person who had passed typically would not want us to mourn them for too long, but instead carry on.  Carrying on doesn't mean forgetting that person, but instead it means remembering them in a healthy way.
Our life in this shell that we call our body is a Gift of the Almighty.  Our fall from grace, unfortunately caused us to lose our immortality.  Therefore, unfortunately, as sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night we will lose special people in our lifetime, so it is best if we can learn to value the time we have with them as we go along and then embrace having had that time with them when they pass.  Death may end a relationship, but it doesn't have to destroy the positive memories of it and our serenity indefinitely.

I was broken up when my brother took his life over 4 1/2 years ago, but in his life and his passing, I have learned that he has given me certain gifts that I can never repay.  He gave me a great example of a compassionate and kind soul.  He gave me an example of a person who was his own person.  In other words, it is more important to be true to yourself.  He reminded me that when life overwhelms me, instead of retreating, it is important to reach out.  Far from being a sign of weakness, reaching out is a sign of strength.  Real courage is doing something you need to even when you don't want to, to opening up to those you need to rather than letting pride get in the way. 

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If we are really fortunate in this life, we will meet a handful of special people that stay with us until our number is called--be it a spouse, a sibling, a friends or other.   I have come to appreciate these people.  These are our true support system.  These are the people we bounce our ideas off of.  These our the people that give us grounding when we seek to explore the uncertainties of life around us.  These are the people we can count on day or night.  These are the people we should say a prayer of thanks to the Almighty for.  The key here is to recognize these people when they come along and/or a part of our lives.


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Whether we meet others for a time and they disappear, a time and they pass on or our lifetime, the key is recognize their purpose or role in our lives and accept the time they are in our lives.