I’m sharing my early day, sweaty face with you for a good reason.
She (me) is a woman made up of thousands of interactions with others. She is not just “me.”
As I drove to meet a friend to hike at a location closer to the area my family and I lived in for the many years, I was filled with joy and anticipation. 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 no where intense pain hit. Dazed by it, I quickly got my barrings and realized it was a blast of grief. Damn, I miss him! I miss the knowns.
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.
The face you see is his too.
The face you see may be you reading this, if we have or had relationship.
We are a collection of our relationships and experiences, and DNA. Our relationships define us greatly.
Gary, unfortunately is in my past. 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. And, when I get to Heaven he will be greeting me. Therefore, his influence will never be removed from my life. It cannot be nor do I wish it to be. He was kick &@# in so many ways. (I seem to have a penchant for less than proper words today. My bad.)
I can say the same about my mom–such a significant person in my life: past, present, future.
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 subtle 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 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 the combinations.
Don’t let the past sucker punch you with regrets and grief which force 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 and look forward into your destinies.