Every once in a while I stop to think about all the paths I have crossed in life. No matter what the agenda, each and every person I have passed has impacted something within me even to the tiniest degree. The person that bumped into me without a second thought made me more aware to watch I don’t swing my pack as carelessly; the homeless guy I see every morning on my way to work has made me appreciate the fact I can buy him a coffee; the tour guide I trusted to hook me into a zip line makes me understand others want to be trusted; the sales clerk that went above and beyond to help me even though I was visibly frustrated made me realize life is too short to be a jerk to others no matter what their attitude; the angry customer I assisted with nothing but understanding and positivity made me realize some people just want to be heard. Chance meetings can be just that, or we can pay attention to subtle cues that can shape who we are, and who we can become.
The paths I have walked along have had a much larger impact in my life than those I merely crossed. I have learned to cherish all of them, both in the moment and after our paths have diverged. I know that even the best of friends may be so for many years, but as lives change course, by conscious choice or by no control of our own, I cannot hold sadness in my heart for I am a better person to have had the encounter than not at all. I will remember what made us laugh until we cried, the trouble we got into, then talked our way back out of, and all the adventures we shared. I will put aside the fights, frustrations and even jealousy. I will reflect on what we had (and have) and know it may not be forever as life is dynamic and everyone has a path to follow. I am forever grateful mine hasn’t been a straight line on a flat road.
I will look back at my twisty, bumpy path and smile in hopes that what lays ahead is much the same. From the small pebbles I trip over, to the boulders I’ve managed to move rather than simply go around, I will know I was meant to cross each person’s path. I may not always know the reason, but for those I’ve walked with rather than just tripped over, thank you. To those I’ve yet to meet, I will remember to embrace the moment and not worry about what is around the next bend.