People come in and out of our lives over the course of our journey. In some instances only once, while others reappear over and over again. When children, romantic partners, co-workers, friends and acquaintances make an appearance, we can be tempted to consider their main function in our lives as the most obvious. However, I believe that, almost always, the purpose for meeting someone is not what we might originally perceive it to be.
We tend to believe we have children to fulfill a deep seeded human desire to nurture and procreate and, ultimately, to live forever, even if only through our genes. For the vast majority of us, work is a necessity. Therefore, we may be tempted to view fellow travelers who come into and out of our lives because of our jobs as mere accident due to unavoidable circumstances. The commonplace idea regarding those people to which we find ourselves physically attracted is that they have been brought to us for the purpose of romantic love or long-term partnership. Close friends and casual acquaintances often are seen on the surface as people we can connect with, spend time and share experiences with.
Yet, how would our lives change if we believed that these fellow travelers enter into our lives for much more meaningful purposes? What if we chose to look just a bit below the glassy surface and begin to notice all of what we cannot readily see above? Like the ocean, if we lose our fear of drowning and take a dive, we find a vast world that we never would guess existed. If we dare to view all those who we come in contact with as teachers, we begin to make connections to our own life’s journey, and how these various people can help us grow, develop and ultimately become who we are meant to become.
Is your recently diagnosed autistic child teaching you tolerance of those ‘different’ than yourself? Is your new love interest, who you feel isn’t able to make enough time for you, instilling a value for times of solitude, which can be scarce in today’s hectic world. What about that friend who always seems to be a “Debbie Downer”? Maybe her purpose is to teach you empathy and ultimately sympathy? And consider that co-worker who seems to take forever to respond to email; could it be that he is in your circle to help you to develop greater patience and persistence?
Aspire to delve more deeply into the purposes behind why you’ve been blessed with the presence of certain people. You may begin to enjoy and value your time with them, no matter how short or long, much more.