Just over ten years ago essentially every deep, lifelong friend I’d had walked away from me and my family. They did this because the group of churches I had grown up in told them to, and they were informed that anyone who talked to us would be tossed out along with us.
With a couple of exceptions, I haven’t talked to them since.
I hadn’t thought about most of them in quite some time, to be honest. But this week a dream brought them all back to my memory. I felt the hole that they had left afresh. I remembered the good, and I remembered the bad. And I started thinking about the impact each of us has on the lives of those around us.
Why do we meet the people we do, make the friends we have, lose the ones we don’t any more? Is it for any particular reason? Are we all just bumping into each other at random, like blind forces of nature impacting one another? Does chance decide where we live and where we were born and who we were born to?
I don’t think so. I think our moments form a deliberate pattern.
We weave in and out of each other’s lives, adding to one another as we go. Some of us cross paths for only a few seconds. Others are intertwined for fifty years. In the end, though, just as we came together, we will eventually part. It is inevitable, at least in this life. But perhaps, rather than dwelling on the parting as we are so wont to do, we should instead ask, what are we adding to each other while we’re together?
When we are adding to a person’s life, are we adding joy or tragedy? Are we building up the people we meet, or tearing them down? Do we exist only for ourselves and bring pain? Or do we exist for others and bring light?
And when we part, what do we focus on? Do we see only the bad? The dark? The twisted little memories that perhaps drove us apart in the first place? Or do we focus on the good? Do we see how this person’s life changed us, how they made us better, and strive to live for that memory?
Really, I think that most of the time it’s the events that are incredibly negative in the present that most shape us into the people we are becoming. If we make these events to shape us for good, then I think that even these things we must be thankful for – perhaps more so than the positive times. Was it hard while you were going through it? Does it still hurt to this day? Perhaps. But I guarantee that the event shaped you, and probably to some degree in the good. Find the good. Let go of the bad. It’s not worth holding onto any longer.
So many of us walk around in a near-constant state of brokenness, shattered by the lives that have crashed into ours. Why are you holding onto that pain? What good is it doing you? Maybe you’ve even said you’ve forgiven the other person. But isn’t it time that you said it and meant it?
I hold nothing against any of my old friends. In fact, what I did when I started thinking about them again was to pray for them. I hope for only the best for all of them. Some day I would be thrilled to tell them that in person.
Often it is the people closest to us who have the best opportunity to shatter us into a million pieces. I know people who have carried this pain around with them for years. I know those who have let it define their lives. Let me ask you: is it worth it, to live in that place of darkness? Wouldn’t it be better to let the light of Jesus flood that area and bring you healing? I am certain there were good times with that person as well, because otherwise you wouldn’t have been so hurt by them. What if you remembered only those and let go of the rest?
We each are woven together for a time, and then our strands move off. But while we’re together, why not work to change the other person’s life for the better? Why not work to make every life we come in contact with better for having met us? What can we do to change them, and consequently to change the world?
So often we’re looking for the Big Purpose for our life. For the Grand Meaning. Now, don’t get me wrong, I fully believe there is a purpose meant for each of us (if we will allow it.) But maybe sometimes we’re trying too hard. Maybe sometimes all we really have to do is let go of the dark, and give someone the light. Maybe we just need to make sure that every life that is stitched together with ours leaves us a little brighter.
We only have one chance to weave this magnificent mosaic called life. What do you say we make the most of it?