People come into our lives for different reasons. Some are there just a short time and yet leave a huge impression on our hearts. Others are there a lifetime, yet the mark they leave on us is smaller. Some float in and out of our lives like a life preserver coming when we need them most. Some are in our lives when things are great and fun and exciting, but then run for the hills screaming when there is a hint of trouble. There are the people that start as a friendly face at the coffee shop or PTO and then turn into a confidante you couldn’t imagine life without.
I certainly know people that fit in each of those categories, and my guess is that you do too. Sometimes I have to remind myself that not all friends are created equal, nor should they be. I believe every person in my life is there for a reason. Serves some sort of purpose. Whereas one friend may be the person I turn to when I need a shoulder to cry on, another may be the first person I want to reach out to when I need a good laugh or distraction. One friend is the one I call when I need advice on parenting, another gives advice on fashion. One friend I could talk to once every 6 months, but feel as close to her as a sister, and another I could talk to every single day but not feel as strong of a connection.
And there are people that leave an impression on us and they don’t even know it. There is a woman that I photographed with her family in October who was battling an aggressive breast cancer that had metastasized again. ( I am a photographer and I offer free family sessions to those battling cancer or other chronic illnesses.) I found out yesterday that she is now at home with hospice and that her fight will most likely be over very soon. I wish I had been able to tell her what an amazing person I found her to be. Such a beautiful woman with a loving husband and a 6 year old daughter who couldn’t possibly understand what it meant to her mom that day to be walking through the woods in the beautiful fall leaves, not knowing if she would see fall leaves again…The woman smiled all day…even when the camera was not pointed in her direction. She was happy to have that day. She affected me in ways I cannot explain, and I won’t even try. But today, knowing how close she is to losing her fight, it made me want to fight for her. So I scheduled my mammogram, I put on some music, and I changed my attitude from “Ugh! I hate that I have to do laundry AGAIN, and do the dishes AGAIN, and why can’t someone else ever take the garbage out?!?” To “Wow. I love that I am here to wash my children’s clothes and marvel in how they are growing, and smile at the dirty knees knowing that means they were outside having fun. I love that I get to be here to clean the dishes off after a lively meal where there was conversation and goofy jokes..and maybe even some potty talk thrown in.” (notice I didn’t mention the garbage? Still haven’t found the good in taking the garbage out…but I am working on it.)
For me, at least for today, it is all about perspective. I can begrudge the little chores and mundane activities of daily life, or I can look at each little chore as a gift. As a reminder that I am still here. I am still alive. And I am so very grateful that I made it through to the other side. The sign I recently bought and hung up says it all: Think Happy… Be Happy. Sometimes it really can be that simple.