Excuse Me, Have We Met?

The other day I was walking through the backyard finishing up some last-minute, outdoor projects before the winter weather arrives. When we purchased our home last year, we inherited about a half-acre of land that includes three, very large trees, and a few smaller ones – so you can imagine the amount of leaves scattered across the lawn. Raking equals losing battle.

While I was attempting to rake, I couldn’t help but notice the different shapes, sizes, and colors of leaves that had gathered on our property and I began to wonder about their lifespan; how much or how little rain they received, and how much the wind and weather had molded them into what they had now become. It also reminded me of old acquaintances and relationships that have crossed my life.

Several years ago I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years. We began talking, but the conversation was odd and a bit uncomfortable. This person was reminiscing about the past and while the discussion was broad, it soon narrowed to some times and places I would simply rather forget.

I found myself confused about the entire interaction and questioning why that person would want to focus on failures and flaws of the past instead of the growth and goodness of the here and now. It was as if I had met them for the first time and they knew a little bit about me, but not a lot. I wanted to look at them and say, “Excuse me, have we met?”

Why did I feel this way? Why did the conversation seem so weird? Why did this person insist on bringing up so many bad memories? Didn’t they know time had moved on and things had changed?

After thinking it through for some time, it became apparent what was missing – context and perspective! You see, this person hadn’t seen me in a long while and no, they really didn’t know me.

They weren’t there to watch as I graduated from college or as I stood at the front of the church awaiting my bride to walk down the aisle. They weren’t there to watch as I took my first job or as I held the hands of numerous dying patients and their families. They weren’t there to watch me navigate circumstances of life, as I learned new and wise lessons and gained new perspectives that grew and matured me into the person I’ve become.

As I’ve mulled this over for the past few days, it serves as an important lesson for me – to allow individuals the opportunity to change, grow and mature and to view them in the context of the “here and now” and not the past. If I don’t, I may miss out on truly knowing some bright, brilliant, and colorful individuals who are purposed to do extraordinary and incredible things!

©Copyright 2014 Scott Rhoades/Ivory Hill Studios

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