Reason, Season, Lifetime: Accepting Impermanence in Relationships
It has been said that people enter our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
- Reason (a project or one time activity, a “guardian angel” encounter when someone steps in and moves you out of a dangerous situation, a fleeting/swoop by lesson)
- Season (a short term; perhaps a few months or years, interaction that teaches you lessons that you may not have learned otherwise.)
- Lifetime (long term connections that may begin at birth or anywhere along the timeline, that endures, perhaps despite challenges, or may even strengthen thus)
The reality is that one day someone will die or leave you, or you will die or leave them. Sound morbid or maudlin? It need not. Instead, it calls for an awareness of the precious and often-times fleeting nature of relationship.
It begins with a desire for connection. According to scientist, Matthew Lieberman, the author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, we are social creatures with an inherent need to engage with others.
Everyone you now know and love was once a stranger. When you gaze back over your timeline, can you recall a time when many of these people were not in your life? Some have been with you for so long, that it might be unimaginable.
Sara shares her experience, “Throughout his life my son would look at me puzzled when he would see me smile or greet ‘strangers.'” He would ask, “Do you know that person?” When I would respond, “Not yet,” he would continue, “Then why are you saying hi to them?” My answer was always, “Because they are in my world.”
Continuing, “How sad it would be to have missed the opportunity to connect with certain people who grace my life and how rich I am to now know and love them. It is hard to imagine what it was like before they stepped on stage. I have had fleeting encounters with folks whose smile or comment have made my day. I have lifelong relationships that I treasure. I anticipate connecting with anam cara (Gaelic for soul friend) as each day I set an intention for having extraordinary experiences and meeting amazing people. And each day I do.”
“Walking through my door will be people I will love for decades and look forward to embracing as new links in those overlapping soul circles that so delight me,” she adds poetically. “I am grateful for my far-flung tribe, wherever it is that they are living and breathing now.”
Many of our interactions seem “meant to be,” or in Yiddish, “beshert.” Consider people who show up in unexpected ways as if scripted. You may have thought how wonderful it would be to have someone help you with a task and within short order, a person crosses your path who is ready, willing and able to be of assistance. A desire arises for a new friend who will engage in fun activities with you and later that day you hear about a meetup in your area that focuses on the very thing that peaks your interest.