Our lives are experienced in the reflection of the people and lives that surround us. These people all play different types of roles. Some of them help us better define and know ourselves. Some teach us how to love and how to hurt, experience pain, have hope for a better life, heal and grow.
There is so much emphasis these days on personal growth and individuality that it forces us to exclude others, seek solitude, and think as though we, our “I,” is all that matters. In this respect, it is a matter of balance. Of course, in your world, you are the most important component because in your life there would be no world if it wasn’t for you. So, yes, you must look after yourself first.
Your individual value raises significantly as you interact with and contribute to the intimate world around you, your community, and the world at large, for without others to witness and validate our lives, we live only a shallow existence of the one, with little life to behold, experience, and enjoy.
For better or worse, when we are young, our lives are influenced by the people who will prepare us for the adult part of our journey. They help to set the stage. Even if your childhood past was riddled with injustice, trauma, and abuse, there were also good people who interacted with you in these times.
I know that in the worst of times in my young years, I was given access to good people, sometimes even bad people who played the part of the good person for my benefit. I have been given the opportunity to thank some of those people later in life, and most of them do not even remember what they did for me, and they have no idea how impactful their small gestures changed a young man’s life.
This unusual activity of people showing up at the right time, even if they may not serve the immediate purpose that we might prefer at that particular time in space, they do show up. This curious anomaly continues throughout the journey of our lives.
Some of the people that we have in our lives are so powerfully supportive and reflective they make us feel more alive with every breath that we take, interaction with others might make us regret the day we were born.
If you are able to persistently pursue life, you will develop the skill of looking back at the past with a 20/20 vision. This means that things that made no plausible sense whatsoever, when life seemed to be hardest to deal with, can be interpreted as being valuable, if not necessary to your journey. The most evidential and simplistic rationale is that you would not be the persona that you are today, and you would not be right here, right now, had it not been for your past.
Even though they tend to come and go, some people allow us to see our own value as we see our lives reflected in their eyes. Special people encourage us to help others less fortunate, who are struggling more than we are, even if only slightly, and to seek to live a better life.
Some of the people who show up at just the right time may not be people at all. St. Paul says we, “have entertained angels unawares” and therefore we should be mindful of how we interact with strangers (Hebrews 13:2).
You might be surprised to discover that angels have been known to vacation here to see what it’s like to be in the body, but they don’t stay very long.