As I allow the light reflecting from the beacons to illuminate further recesses in the cave I discover memories of people whose images flicker in the light.
People pass through our lives, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes staying for a while, sometimes remaining a part of the structure of our lives. And they always leave a marker, if we care enough to consider the lesson they have taught us in their passing. Take the time, the lesson is often better understood upon reflection.
I consider a seemingly chance meeting, on a station platform, with a man to whom I owed a debt of gratitude. That meeting allowed not only the expression of that gratitude, but the opportunity to reflect on how our individual histories collided, and how that collision made a difference. I have never seen him since.
A woman who passed through my life at a time when a particular interest had entranced me. That interest touched something off in her. We explored it together, we became excited by it together and her enthusiasm carried me forward. Then she disappeared. I know not why, but for that period she was necessary for my development, and therefore will always occupy a warm place in my heart.
Nor is it a requirement that I have met the people personally. There is a couple whose generosity of spirit, reflected through a friend of mine, touches my own life. I am grateful to them.
The impact of these people and our memories of them can last long after their passing from this life. I recall, and often revisit, the memory of sitting at the bottom of my father’s grave, some 25 years after his death, and him coming, in person, to talk with me. That memory can sustain me to this day.”
“But I would not like to mislead you into thinking that it is only the people who have been good to us from whom we can learn. Often it is the people whose appearance in our life coincided with pain from whom we can learn the most. Yet this is a harder question to ask. For the question often needed is – What is it about me which allowed that person to affect me in that way?
Without the answer to that question we will carry on repeating the same mistakes.
Until I recognized, in me, my need to be seen as the knight on the white charger, I continued to get involved with the same sort of people.
So allow the light to guide your reflections. Take your courage in both hands and revisit your past. Be prepared to ask the hard questions because the answers will guide your future.
As always – if you prefer the spoken word –