“Your life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be opened”. – Wayne Muller
Like it or not we are all connected in some way or another, by someone, something, and somehow. We all will leave others with the feeling of how we made them feel and that will change their path for better or worse. I’m far from perfect, I know that there are many “I’m sorry” that are needed. I made a choice in my early 20’s to live for positivism and walk away from drugs, crime, and fighting. I do not like to push my religion but for me it helped tremendously. I had someone to look up to that has not failed me. We are all human, we will fail one another. So think of it as a mindset change, higher power, faith or a little of all of it, it changed who I was into who I am today.
There is no way to predict how we will exist on earth, sure our choices can guide the pathway of our lives but ultimately we merely exist. Its through our interactions with others that we come alive.
Some have the opportunity to influence large numbers of people; some may live their entire life only affecting their small circle of friends and family. No matter the influence “we believe” we may or may not have in the lives of the people we come in contact with, one thing we do not know is what was moved in their life that changed the course of their life because of us.
Have you ever met someone that for some reason just sticks with you, no matter what direction your life travels you remember how they treated you? That is what matters, how you impact others.
When I was between the ages of 11-14 my life was a complete disaster, fighting in school, not caring about my grades, not coming home, moving back and forth between my mother and father’s house in Michigan and Florida, changing schools and trying to meet new friends.
Being a bit of a trouble maker I always gravitated to the questionable kids, let’s be honest it was just more fun to not follow the rules. One of the “friends” I met was the local Police department here in Michigan and sent to Florida to get on the narrow. Well, after I met the local Police Department in Florida I found myself back in Michigan working on some good old Community Service, only this will not be counted as school credits. That is where I met one of the most influential people in my life at that time. I’ll call him Mr. D for his privacy.
Well, Mr. D was an asshole, so I thought.
I had 150 hours of community service to fulfill as part of my sentence and I will never forget day one. Planting Tulips at city hall, picture this; a wheelbarrow full of bulbs and a serving spoon, let the fun begin. Day one went by, day two, and on to counting weeks not days. Followed by picking up magazines, sorting mail, arranging can goods, moving boxes full of paperwork from one side of the room to the other (for no apparent reason) then it happened.
One day he came in and I was ready to hear the crap job I was going to begin for that day. He said to me “what do you like to eat”? That was not a question that I was not ready to answer on the spot. Uhh, pizza and burgers, so while we ate he began to ask about me, and I was shocked.
“Why would you want to know about me”? I asked
he said “well, we have been spending a lot of time together and not even close to half way to 150 hours” thank you for the reminder..
“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.” ~Anne Linden
Over the next few weeks we talked every day while I worked. Even if I was working and he was sitting there watching, his company began to become something I desired, and was completely okay with me no matter what the crap job was. I see now what he was doing; he was planting a seed inside me that would one day grow into the man I am today. Today I love to talk to teens, especially troubled teens. Sometimes all a lost child needs is for someone to help them find their voice and show that someone cares.
Today he lives in Florida (ironic I feel) and still works with teens, I am one of God knows how many teenagers this man has influenced and he was one of many that has changed the course of my life.
That is how life works, I go through life bumping into, brushing against and sometimes crashing into others and they continue on doing the same. How do you respond, react and interact with people you come in contact with?
For me it’s simple, I want as many people in my path to walk away feeling better than they did before our paths crossed. I find my words to be more effective than anything, so I write..
I hope today while you crash into the people around you leave them better than before they had the opportunity to meet you.