You Can Be a Positive Force
There are people who show up in our lives and change us for the better. We often don’t realize it when it’s happening, and we sometimes don’t appreciate it when we do. They shape who we are and who we will become. They don’t mean to have such a big impact – they’re just doing their thing, being who they are – but they do. We are different because of them. And when we venture back in time and think about them, wondering how they are, and where they are, and what they’re up to, we assume that we’ll, someday, when the time is right, get a chance to say “thank you”. But that time doesn’t always come.
This week I discovered that someone who had made a difference in my life has died. He was the first boy who loved me and he loved me unconditionally. When I found out, in a heartbeat 30 years melted away, and he was fully alive in my mind. His smile. His gentleness. His love of life. He was a positive force in my life when I was still a fairly self-consumed and very insecure teenager.
I remember going camping with him and his family the summer after my freshman year in college. Risking peril, he taught me to fly fish. It wasn’t pretty. As comfortable in the wild as he was at home, he’d scamper across the logs that had fallen over the rushing river, laughing and cheering me on as I’d scoot across on my bottom, snarling and swearing. “Isn’t this heaven on earth!” he’d proclaim joyfully. “Just think, we’re where few humans have ever been!” “Just think,” I grumbled in response, “we’re where medical attention could never reach us.”
He adored me for who I was. He saw something in me that I didn’t at the time. A light. A spark of who I really was, hidden deep inside my hunger to fit in. I think the person I’ve become and the person he saw I could be, are finally finding their way to one another. Slowly.
We become who we are in great part to all of the people who have shared our journey. Whether positively or negatively, they have influenced us along the way. I’m sad that I never had a chance to tell Kevin thank you. That he made a difference. But I’m more aware than ever before how far reaching our impact can be.
You are having an impact on the people around you every day. Informing how they see themselves, how they view what’s possible, how they experience the world around them. They may not get a chance to tell you, but what you do and how you do it matters. And it will matter for a long time to come. How would you like to be remembered?
You can be a positive force in someone’s life.
Today I’m more committed than ever to do the same. That will be my thank you that I never got to say.
©OnStage Leadership, 2014
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