Have you ever heard that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime? I’m not sure who originally said it (a google search yielded no results, but several variations and cute wall hangings), but it resonates with me. Maybe it’s due to the brilliant advice our fourth grade class got from Mr. G.
“Learn something from everyone you meet – either a way to be or a way not to be.”
Or maybe it’s simply because it’s true.
There are those friendships that last a lifetime – that continue to be full of love and joy no matter how long the pauses. Those people you might go months without seeing or talking to, but you know that they’ll answer when you call and you’ll feel better after hearing their smiles. The friendships bonded in childhood shenanigans and innocent trust in one another. Those are some incredible people to have in your corner. No doubt about it.
But there are others too. There are people who nurture us through a season. As a military family, we move. It’s part of life. And it means that some of the friends we make will be clearly seasonal. We may literally be in the same boat for a time, but beyond that those ties aren’t as secure. Or maybe the season has nothing to do with Navy life. Maybe the season is raising toddlers or being a baseball mom. But, whatever it is that connects us to those friends, we drift away when that season changes.
Seasonal friendships are vital and important. I once told an incredible group of women upon my first time meeting them that I didn’t want friendships with any of them – I just needed support because I was pregnant and had two kids. Looking back, I couldn’t have been more rude to these women who opened their lives to me and welcomed me into their circle. And to their credit, they let me stay. They probably prayed for me. And those friendships were key to my health – mental, physical, and emotional – during the three years we were together. Some of those relationships faded when they moved or I did. Others have become lifetime friends. Blessings – all of them.
And then there are the people who come into your life for a reason. It might be, like Mr. G. said, to help me figure out I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to be saccharine sweet and power hungry. I don’t want to be so business focused that I’m selling my wares rather than creating lasting relationships. I don’t want to be the mat that others wipe their shoes on before moving on toward their goals. All valuable realizations that others have helped me incorporate into the me I am today.
Or maybe the reason is so they can reflect back to me some message I need to hear or see in my life. Like today when this beauty showed up in my Facebook feed:
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
People, whether friends, acquaintances, or random interactions, come into and move out of our lives for a whole host of reasons. Each precious connection may clearly have meaning immediately or we may never fully understand why we dealt with that one particular individual.
No matter what, though…don’t doubt that there’s a reason, a season, and a lifetime of relationships and meaningful moments for you and the lives that you’re touching. Cherish them. Learn from them. Grow from them. And know you have succeeded.