Thank You For Being In My Life, And Thank You For Leaving

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I don’t say “Thank You” because I’m simply better off without you, or because I think you’re simply better off without me. I don’t say it because I’m bitter, or because I wish anything negative toward you. I say thank you for being in my life, and thank you for leaving because you taught me things about life and showed me ways to walk through life that I will never learn anywhere else, and I can only hope I had a similar impact on you. If you hadn’t left, I never would have realized the extent of the wealth of lessons you taught me. Something changed, and we just didn’t mesh anymore, because things between us no longer added up, and that’s okay.

Even though we didn’t survive the test of time, I’m better today because I knew you.

This is not meant for any one person. I, like most people, have had relationships of all sorts that bloomed with the arrival of a new season, but faded with the next. Just as the weather changes with each season, so do we. We cannot control the path of relationships any more than we can control the snow that falls, or doesn’t, every winter. I’m not so sure how I feel about the blanket statement, ‘everything happens for a reason’, but I do know that change is one of the few things out there that’s constant.

Unfortunately, we can’t always change together, and truth be told, we’re not always meant to.

This sort of change has always been something I, personally, have struggled with. Losing relationships of any sort often left me feeling as though I wasn’t doing enough or trying hard enough. And maybe most of all, for a long time, I couldn’t quite grasp the phrase, ‘love isn’t always enough’. Maybe it’s because I was, and well, still am young. But, whatever the reason, I thought love could conquer everything if it was truly there. And when things didn’t work out, I thought the heart wasn’t truly in it. I’ve come to learn, however, that I’ve never been further from the truth.

Some very influential people in my life have taught me a lot about those seasons, among many other things. Seasons aren’t just what we see, like the changing of the leaves, the falling of the snow, and the blooming of the flowers. Seasons are also an illustration of our lives; of that change that’s constant and inevitable from day to day, month to month and year to year. Circumstances, beliefs, attitudes, you name it – they change all the time. And with those changes come changes in relationships. Maybe your circumstances change and you can no longer physically be around someone you were close with, which takes a toll on each of you. Maybe your beliefs shift after a traumatic event, and they no longer mesh with your inner circle’s beliefs, creating tension. Or maybe you develop a new attitude about how you’re going to live your life, and it doesn’t match that of your partner’s anymore, raising questions.

These changes, though different for each individual, are inevitable because each of us marches to the beat of a very distinct and unique drummer. The path we each walk, run, stumble, and even crawl down will never be exactly the same as anyone else’s, no matter how much we’d like for it to be. The true destinations we reach, what we see, and how we change, will always be unique to each of us. And that’s exactly why even when our paths diverge, it doesn’t mean love wasn’t there; it doesn’t mean what we had wasn’t real and significant.

We can never hope to find contentment if we are always focused on the destination more so than the journey. This is true of destinations which we’re bound for, and those destinations that we reached, and departed from, in the past. The majority of life is the journey, from one place to another, often times with different people in tow to each one. There will always be a new destination on each of our horizons; be it physical, emotional, mental, etc. What we learn, how we grow, and who we touch are among the most fulfilling pieces of the puzzle we call life. Every step we take, every leap of faith we make, every door we open, or in some cases close, makes us everything that we are at any given moment.

And without you, I know I would be less whole than I am today.

At the risk of sounding cynical (and if you know me, you know cynicism is a rarity), it truly is amazing when you think about interactions and relationships, how they last. I’ll reiterate that I don’t mean that in a negative way. In a world where darkness seems to loom around most corners, anger billows through countless streets, and sadness falls as a shadow behind too many people, it’s tough for love to break through the clouds. But it always does, and it always will.

That is exactly why, even when relationships don’t work out, they are still crucial and significant.

If we were all perfectly compatible all the time, that beautiful light we all covet would never shine through. The world isn’t bedecked with straight lines and matching colors; the beauty of the world is found in the crooked path to the top of the mountain and the uneven color distribution of the changing leaves in the fall. Just because someone who helped us to the top of the mountain isn’t here anymore doesn’t make that crooked path we walked together any less beautiful or miraculous. We may very well have never made it to the top without them.

And that’s exactly why I will always thank you; for being there to walk through life with me, whether it was for a short time or a long time.

You may not be walking with me any longer, but I wouldn’t be where I am right now, heading down this road if it weren’t for you. If you hadn’t left, we both would have remained stagnant, missing the opportunities to grow in life and love that make us who we are today. Whether our relationship went up in flames like fire and gasoline or was slowly eroded by the river of time, that is no matter when it comes to the bigger picture. We both needed to head our separate ways to reveal a necessary new direction on our own unique maps.

And now, I am heading in that new direction, as steadfast and strong as I could possibly be because I knew you. TC mark

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