Over the past year or so I have been doing a lot of thinking, pondering, evaluating what it is that make people who they are. When we are young everything is innocent, no one can do any harm, parents are infallible. That is unless of coarse a child is subjected to some unfortunate circumstances. But on the general, children see the world with bright eyes and simplicity. What a blessing it is to have all the colors of the rainbow so vivid displayed each day, not to have a worry in the world. Santa Clause really does exist and the Sand Man really sprinkles sand on your eyes when you sleep. We learn that people can be beautiful, and life can be splendid
Time goes by and the teen years put a dot on our life’s timeline. Parents are all the sudden the enemy, it’s always no and never yes. Friends turn to bullies and our own identity is a crisis. We fall in love and get our hearts broken and think we will never recover from the tragedy of losing a high school sweetheart. But in those years we learn a valuable lesson about people. The ones you love can hurt you, but life will still move forward. Time never stops for heartache.
Years go by and college degrees are earned and we are thrust into the working world where life isn’t so simple anymore. More is on the line; our safety net of college friends and study hour is pulled from beneath our feet. The dating pool is vastly larger and more often than not, good intentions are disguised with a stiff drink on a Saturday night. We form friendships with people that seem to be more valuable, people that understand us and who we are becoming. We learn that the work place can be brutal and good looks take you further than good ideas. We discover that our parents aren’t so bad after all and maybe, just maybe, they knew what they were talking. But we learn that the world is harsh, the world can be extremely cut and dry, but there is a safe place with family and friends.
And here I find myself. Having learned these earlier lessons, some a harder pill to swallow than others. After looking into the eyes of my newborn child I gained a new acceptance of others. For some reason something sparked in that that made me want to know what made others who they were. What past train wreck thrust them violently on the destructive path they are on now? What fairytale love story molded their marriage into 60 + years of tireless devotion? That sometimes the person you never though had anything to offer has more to bestow upon the world that the world has given them a chance at offering. Plato said:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
I learned to listen to others, their stories, their advice and above all, their silence. Changing a person is a very daunting and almost always impossible task. People are who they are; personalities are formed long before you meet a person. And the life choices they have made have been made – and what those choices set into motion cannot be stopped. And nothing is ever as simple as we would like it to be.
I look forward to my next lesson. What will the next stage in my life teach me about those that walk upright around me? I guess this is what's called 'growing up'.