I’m sharing my early day, sweaty face with you for a good reason and the thoughts woven together on the way up the mountain.
She (me) is a woman made up of thousands of interactions with others. She is not just “me.” Do you understand?
As I drove to meet a friend to hike at a location close to the area my family and I lived in for the many years, I was filled with joy and anticipation at the thought of seeing my friend, and hiking that bump of earth called, Mt. Pisgah.
I exited off the freeway and stopped at a light.
That’s when I was hit. It literally felt as if I had been suckered punched in the gut. Out of nowhere intense pain hit. Dazed by it, I quickly got my bearings and realized it was a blast of grief. Dang, I miss him! I miss the knowns of life, before cancer struck and all sorts of other tumultuous circumstances.
Quickly I recognized the feeling, allowing myself to own the emotion but not to engage in it fully. I had a friend to meet, a mountain to climb, and a God who sets my face towards the future.
The thing is, I had many years with Gary before he passed. Just short of 30 years of marriage, children, grandchild…life.
Time had flown by.
Which brings me here: The face you see in my photo, well the one I a wearing at this moment, it is his too!
In fact, if you and I know each other, or even if you just read my words or listen to me, or if I follow your words, and know you, then we may look a bit like one another.
We are a collection of our relationships with others, and I will say, my friendship with God, as well as our and meld with our DNA and that’s who we are!
Our relationships define us greatly.
Gary, is no longer with us. I gulp as I even write that. Yet he is so much who I am presently that I have no idea who I’d be otherwise. Therefore, his influence will never be removed from my life. It cannot be nor do I wish it to be.
I can say the same about my mom–such a significant person in my life: past, present, future. How can I not be like her in subtle, and less than subtle ways?
I can say this about so many who have came in and out of my life, in one way or another–family, friends, teachers, co-workers, cultural shapers, authors, etc. We are not left unaffected by any relationships. We always have some sort of faint or overt takeaway, whether we own up to it or not.
And the big thing here: we impact others–many, for life. My influence, your influence, our lives matter. Becoming intentional about what we leave with others is huge, because these encounters and relationships make us who we are and others who they are.
That person in the photo, me, had just worked a bit to summit a small mountain; she did that because of examples and the impetus of others. She is a collection of relationships, those who have invested in or intersected with her life for the good, the bad, the ugly, and all the combinations.
Don’t let the past sucker punch you with regrets and grief forcing you to keep turning back. We don’t need more pillars of salt or monuments. We need more living, breathing, life-giving people. We need you!
Keep getting back up from the punches of life, moments or blocks of them–and lean forward into your destinies.
You are more than you realize, thanks in part to some fantastic life-changing people you’ve encountered along the way.