When Inspired, Pass It On
“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” - Don Williams
There are special forces in our lives. They come to teach us but it is up to us to pass it on.
These forces come in many shapes and sizes and we call them - people. Some inspire us through their courage. Some, through the sacrifices they make for a worthy cause or for humanity in general. Others may exhibit extraordinary integrity or humility. With age, you begin to recognize the value in those special forces. You wonder where you would be now, had your path not crossed with these folks. You realize that there are pivotal people and pivotal moments in life.
Brilliant literary minds have stated that life is a journey but it does not take a brilliant mind to know this. It only requires a mind that is capable of logic. This thing we call life is quite like a mountain stream. It twists and turns and sometimes plunges us headfirst into the rocks. Just as a mountain stream alters its course when stones or timber blocks the path of the water, life too is altered by the events in our life. Even a random encounter on a busy street has the potential to change the course of our lives. I'll give you an example.
Randomness? I don't think so.
The day was normal; busy, but normal. Luna, my Italian Greyhound (Iggy) needed a new leash so I made a quick dash over to Pet Smart. To avoid some shopper traffic, I darted down the toy aisle to come in the back way to the leash display. As I turned the corner, I was shocked to see a man blocking my way with a beautiful Italian Greyhound on a leash. It was shocking because I had run several ads in the paper looking for other Iggy owners, hoping to establish some play dates for the dogs. No one had responded. Inquiries at several veterinary offices produced the same result. No one knew of any Iggy's in the area.
Needless to say, I had to stop and ooh and ah over the dog and of course, that led to conversing with the owner. He too was interested in some doggy play time so we exchanged names and numbers. Being a bit lazy, I handed him a deposit slip from my checkbook. When I looked at his name, I recognized the last name as a family name on my mother's side of the family. Further conversation revealed that we were second cousins who had never met.
To keep this brief, we became friends and so did our Iggys. They enjoyed weekly play dates and cousin Don would come by unannounced to take Luna for a walk with Pacci. They were great buddies.
Four months after this unusual meeting of cousins, I received a phone call from the local emergency room asking if I knew Don. I had worked in health care for 35 years and I knew from the voice on the other end of the phone that this was bad. The caller asked me to come to the hospital and to bring Don's brother. When we arrived, the chaplain met us and explained that Don had been killed in a freak car accident and that the only contact information in his wallet was my deposit slip.
There is much more to the story but the point is, look at how many opportunities there were for Don and I to miss meeting each other.
- Why did I go to Pet Smart that day?
- Why did I dart down the toy aisle?
- Why did I give Don that deposit slip?
- Why did he keep it?
There was nothing random about this meeting. It was meant to be and the depth of it will be written one day, in another hub. What I hope you take from this story is that there are few accidents in life. There are special forces at work that bring people together at the right time, for the right reasons, for a higher purpose.
Throughout my life I met people that I knew crossed my path for a higher purpose. Some came to teach me a lesson about life. Some were there only briefly but in that time, inspired me. There were others who became lifetime friends and yes, there were some that when I met them, were already friends. At least that's how it seems when kindred spirits meet.
These random meetings often result in an expanding circle of friends. You know what I mean. You meet someone and in turn they introduce you to someone else who does the same and as a result you find yourself working a new job or involved in a new charity, all a result of a random meeting. It's the ripple effect and is evident in nature and in human relationships. Drop a pebble on the surface of a lake. You'll see what I mean.
These special forces in our life are not free. They are gifts to be cherished and shared. We are responsible for taking care of them and honoring them and, passing them on. For years, I wondered how to do that and then the answer came. It has become a tradition for me and I want to share it in hopes that you will find some value in it and make it a tradition in your life.
Each year, on New Year's Day, I set aside the day to reflect on the past year. It is a quiet day for me. I do not plan other activities as I feel like the gifts in my life are deserving of my full attention. My purpose in this reflection is to choose someone who has made a significant alteration in the course of my year, or, someone who has inspired me or motivated me to change myself. It is not an easy decision because as I have aged, I have surrounded myself with people whose nature is to inspire, motivate, or serve as an example of positive influence. Once I have identified the person I feel is my most "pivotal person" of the year, I compose a letter to them, explaining what their relationship has meant to me and what benefit I have seen as a result of knowing them.
Sometimes the letters are infused with humor and sometimes they are pure praise. I write from my heart and the recipients know that the letter is personal and sincere. The reaction to these letters always amazes me.
This has been my tradition for over fifteen years now and I think perhaps I have been the real benefactor. What I have learned from this tradition is perhaps one of the most important life lessons I have ever learned and I want to share it with you.
As human beings living in difficult times and with too much stress, we are far too quick to criticize and far too slow to praise.
Think about it. How quick are you to rant at the clerk in a retail store when you have to return a damaged product? How quick do you complain to the lowly customer service representative when you call about the problem with your Internet connection or cell phone bill? How quick are you to yell at your spouse for not taking out the trash or your child for leaving their socks on the bathroom floor? If you're normal, you're probably pretty quick.
Now, think about it.
How different would life be if you were more patient, more kind, more thoughtful in your choice of words? Wouldn't it be nice to become a special force in someone else's life? It's up to you. Will you pass it on?
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.