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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Monday, November 7, 2011

By heart

"God doesn't give you the people you want. He gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you the person you were meant to be." 

I found the above quote here. Not sure who said it, but today it is resonating, so I thought I would share it with you. I have been thinking a lot lately about the people who have influenced my life in positive ways. Most of these people are still in my life. A few of them are not -- they came through and headed on down a path that did not include me; I headed off in a direction that they did not understand; some have passed away, so they are still a part of my community spiritually, but no longer physically, and some friendships just fade as inexplicably as they arrived.

I have been thinking a lot about a friend of mine who has not been in my life for many years now, but who I still think often enough that when I read the quote at the top of the page, he immediately came to mind. It is his birthday this week, and as often happens with people whose lives touch me deeply, even long after they are no longer around, I find myself slowing down every year on his birthday and giving thanks for the positive ways he has influenced who I am. For the gifts he brought. The laughter. For opening my heart in new ways. Rarely do I thank God for bringing someone into my life to hurt me or leave me, so this quote is giving me pause to reflect on how having this man both leave and hurt me has helped push me further towards being the person I am meant to be.

It is one of life's many hidden blessings that it is rarely the people who are mere acquaintances, the people who do not really matter to us; who pass by without staying long enough to form lasting bonds--that hurt us. Usually those who hurt us most are those we love the most. Those we have allowed ourselves to be vulnerable with. Whose presence in our lives feels essential. It is a blessing because although it hurts, usually there has been enough love shared in these relationships that we do not, or can not simply write them off. Whether we mend the relationship or walk away, the pain and loss that we experience in these relationships make us pause to listen, because we know there are important life lessons in this kind of pain if we tune in to them and use them to grow.

Today I was thinking about this one particular friend, and how much losing his presence in my life has influenced who I am today. I often see this from the perspective of who I would have been if he were still in my life, but I think that many of the things I am most proud of being today -- honest, affectionate, faithful, committed, true to my heart, respectful of myself and others, prayerful, consistent, devoted, strong-hearted and independent, graceful, and loving others for who they are rather than who I want them to be -- are things I have become since my friend let go of our friendship in order to stay true to his dreams and heart. Sometimes losing those we love helps us to become the person we are meant to be.

Life is so rich in comings and goings. In knowing when to take risks, when to fight for something, when to let go gracefully, and when to love with everything in our hearts. Today I am feeling grateful for my friend. For the joys he brought when he was in my life, and the gifts he gave me by leaving.

And you friends? Have you given thanks today for those whose paths have crossed your own and kept going? For the beauty of that point of meeting, and the direction, texture and purpose that your life has developed since you headed off in different directions?


This is a recording of Eva Cassidy singing I Know You By Heart, a favourite song of mine, and one that always reminds me to be grateful for the gifts that everyone who passes through my life -- whether for a short or a long time--bring to my life. I am not a big fan of the video, but the sound quality on the recording is excellent.

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