'I'm Glad You're in my Life Right now'

"If love is real, it will be evident in our daily life, in the way we relate with people and the world." (Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step)

"I don't know how long you will be here, but I'm glad you're in my life right now."


These strange words of an acquaintance startled me the first time she said them to me. I wondered where I was going. As it turned out, she was telling me she was no friend, that our interaction had a purpose, and that when I was no longer useful, she would discard me. She did.

T
he experience was painful and embittering. Then it occurred to me that if I took her words and released them into a clear blue sky--a clean, new context--they could teach me something timeless, eternal, and even trite. We all know nothing lasts forever. We're here only for a little while. Seize the day. Blah, blah. We need to make the most of it. And what's done is done.

The lesson in and out of the clear blue is that it's downright pointless to expect relationships to be eternal commitments. We crave that comfort and security, we want to know we have someone to turn to in trust. Sometimes loyal friends come and stay a lifetime, but life proves over and over that holding onto the idea of forever is unrealistic. People die, move, change direction....Things happen. The point is to cherish the present because it's all we have.

How much better it might be to jump into life with two feet and see the people who make up a day as everything life is about. They are my life because they're here. If I can grasp that even the meanest of users is doing the best she can and facing her own struggles, I can let her behavior teach me lessons rather than hurt me.


If I think like this, then the guys painting the outside of my home, Ted the Recycling Guy, the Mail Lady, Gary who drives by every day, and the woman who teaches in Bridgeport and walks her dog when I am out walking are my life--along with my husband, my daughter, my parents, the guinea pigs, the blue jays, the squirrels, the foolish turtles trying to cross the road, my neighbor's kid, the librarian... The people who aren't here aren't here at all. We love who and what we make time for.

It's a hard lesson to flick through an address book and realize the people my mind holds dearest have not passed before my eyes in years and that in a few months I'll be scribbling Christmas cards to them and trying to remember the names and ages of their kids. We do drift in and out of each other's lives. This is not a crime but a fact. You can love people who are far away in time or place, but your life is made of the people who are present. It's in our best interest to love them well.

"I'm glad you're in my life right now." It could be beautiful.

Comments

  1. Well, that's a healthy way of looking at things I suppose, but I kind of like the idea that my wife is going to be around for a while. :)

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  2. Am I healthy or am I pragmatic....? So long as your wife isn't the screwball who said this, you're okay.

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  3. Anonymous12:38 AM

    So well expressed. Life is so transient.

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  4. Last fortnight my friend's sister lost her four year old kid. Doctors never found out the cause for the sudden demise of the child.

    It was terribly tragic, but I suppose that's life. Here today, gone tomorrow. The same is true for persons too.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and scribbling a wonderful comment. I really appreciate it.

    Can I blogroll you?

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  5. Hmmm. . .I suppose that way of thinking may help us protect our hearts. And you are right that most often life shows us our expectations of lasting relationships are unrealistic, yet sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and refreshed. When my dad died, my best friend from high school whom I talked to once or twice a year was my biggest comforter.

    Faithfulness is a virtue that can come back to bite you in the butt, that's for sure, but I think it's worth the risk.

    I do appreciate your suggestion to love the people around you well, whether you have fostered a deep relationship with them or not. They cross our paths for a reason (or is that more blah, blah--I love it!).

    Thanks for a very thought provoking post.

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  6. I've learned that different people value long term friendships in different ways. I hold old friends dear to my heart, even if I don't see them for years. But not everyone feels that way - out of sight and out of mind is apparently out of heart for some as well.

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  7. Pann,
    Thanks for commenting. I've been thinking about the idea that the only moment we have is the present one. We can't do anything with the past or future; we're here now. Ultimately, what and who we include in our lives now is what we value; it's who we are. It's possible to care about people who are not present, but they do not make up our present life.

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  8. Anonymous1:00 PM

    > >Sand and Stone
    > >TWO FRIENDS WERE WALKING
    > >THROUGH THE DESERT
    > >DURING SOME POINT OF THE
    > >JOURNEY, THEY HAD AN
    > >ARGUMENT; AND ONE FRIEND
    > >SLAPPED THE OTHER ONE
    > >IN THE FACE
    > >THE ONE WHO GOT SLAPPED
    > >WAS HURT, BUT WITHOUT
    > >SAYING ANYTHING,
    > >WROTE IN THE SAND
    > >
    > >TODAY MY BEST FRIEND
    > >SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE
    > >
    > >THEY KEPT ON WALKING,
    > >UNTIL THEY FOUND AN OASIS,
    > >WHERE THEY DECIDED
    > >TO TAKE A BATH
    > >
    > >THE ONE WHO HAD BEEN
    > >SLAPPED GOT STUCK IN THE
    > >MIRE! AND STARTED DROWNING,
    > >BUT THE FRIEND SAVED HIM.
    > >
    > >AFTER HE RECOVERED FROM
    > >THE NEAR DROWNING,
    > >HE WROTE ON A STONE:
    > >
    > >"TODAY MY BEST FRIEND
    > >SAVED MY LIFE"
    > >
    > >THE FRIEND WHO HAD SLAPPED
    > >AND SAVED HIS BEST FRIEND
    > >ASKED HIM, "AFTER I HURT YOU,
    > >YOU WROTE IN THE SAND AND NOW,
    > >YOU WRITE ON A STONE, WHY?"
    > >
    > >THE FRIEND REPLIED
    > >"WHEN SOMEONE HURTS US
    > >WE SHOULD WRITE IT DOWN
    > >IN SAND, WHERE WINDS OF
    > >FORGIVENESS CAN ERASE IT AWAY.
    > >BUT, WHEN SOMEONE DOES
    > >SOMETHING GOOD FOR US,
    > >WE MUST ENGRAVE IT IN STONE
    > >WHERE NO WIND
    > >CAN EVER ERASE IT"
    > >
    > >LEARN TO WRITE
    > >YOUR HURTS IN
    > >THE SAND AND TO
    > >CARVE YOUR
    > >BENEFITS IN STONE.

    ReplyDelete

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