I am rather a fan of people who (a) don’t take themselves too incredibly seriously, and (b) have gained the balance of knowing when to be serious enough that everyone else takes them seriously. it’s a neat trick really.
I have been told at various intervals of my life that people listen to me. It’s nice to know because all in all I feel more like a case study in what NOT to do, which is really apparently just as efficient as the case study in what TO do. I’m always flattered when someone compliments me or tells me that they miss me when I am not around – ie, someone from my small group at church told me that she misses my “insights” and “honesty.” I no doubt like to ask hard questions and play devil’s advocate, (maybe literally in this case) because we tend to like things cut and dry and they are only very seldom so. I also hover right around 10 years older than a good number of people in the group and I am officially the oldest, so I feel I have a lot more life experiences to call on and while I’m not necessarily spiritually more mature, I know I’ve had a lot more time to really wrestle with it all.
That said, I was plenty pleased to discover how someone I really thought paid no significant attention to me actually holds my opinions in high regard and sought me out for advice on a very serious matter. It made my weekend really. More than almost any other one thing, and I’ve had a pretty great weekend.
I’ve said and written it a million times if I’ve said or written it once, I want to matter. I want to encourage others, challenge them, support them, make them struggle, give them pause, stir up emotion, tip them over and pour them out. (yes that was a line from a kid’s song) I like being that person because the people who matter most to me do those things for me and I wouldn’t be anything worth anything without them in my life. I never want shallow friends, false yes-men who pat me on the head or tell each other how wonderful we are. Sure that’s needed from time to time. But so is chocolate and we all know how damaging that can be in excess.
On another note, somewhat related, I heard some devastating news about a friend of mine, one of the sweetest people I know. Witnessed a horrific accident of friends of his as they were riding motorcycles yesterday. My heart goes out to all of them as the bikers recover physically and emotionally/mentally. I have never had to actually watch friends or loved ones get into that kind of accident, and I pray to God I won’t ever. I can only imagine how horrifying it must be and how helpless you must feel. Not to mention never really being able to get graphic images out of your mind.
I would hope that if I ever, God Forbid, had to face such a situation, I would be helpful and strong and do what was needed at the time. But you just don’t know these things about yourself for sure until you’re actually faced with it. And I’m always reminded that life is so uncertain and you do not truly know what is around the bend. You take each turn with care, quite literally, and even when you do all you can in your power, sometimes the road does things you don’t see in time or can’t handle. And everything is turned on its head.
So, I am trying to learn how to take every moment as it comes and see the beauty and meaning in all our life experiences and cherish those who are in our lives to the fullest. And so it comes full circle, in some ways, with how I’ve lived so far and taking all the mistakes into account, I try to offer my help along the way to others. It’s really all I can do and all I have to give. And I hope it’s enough. I know after weekends like this, I feel blessed by every person I’ve known, for a hundred different reasons, and I just couldn’t see my life any other way.