You never know how your progress will help someone remember who they are. Recently I was given the opportunity to re-connect with an old friend. This woman knew me as a teenager and saw me at my worst, however she never stopped loving me. She was highly influential to me as a teenager and young adult because of her unconditional love and heart towards young people. Our worlds divided after much drama (outside of me) that hurt her tremendously and broke her spirit. Every time I saw her she would have this glow but after the drama the few times I talked to her, it wasn’t there.
Anyway, I went to her house in December to say hello. We played cards, laughed, and talked as if no time elapsed. Last month I invited her to my house to hang out. We started talking, then I paused to listen beyond the words. As I listened, I realized that although she was hurt and much was taken from her, the passion and love for young people was still there. She expressed how proud she was of me and few other young people she dealt with. Also, how seeing me and another young lady recently made her realize how influential she was and in short, realize that dealing with young people was more than a passion but her calling. She also realized that touching the lives of young people can go beyond the church doors. I expressed to her how she influenced me as a teenager and most of all, loved me through my mess. I also took that time to apologize for the chaos I caused. Although I cannot change the past, I am big enough to admit when I was wrong.
Many people say they care about young people but only few are willing to step out and do something about it. This woman did everything in her power to reach young people but not only did she reach them, she was effective and the results were/are long lasting.
I began thinking and realized that sometimes we allow life to deter us from our passions and callings. Some of us were trained to put so much faith in man or leadership that we lose sight of where our gifting’s and callings come from. We allow “people” to dictate what we can do, who we can reach, and what format our gifting’s should be used. Reaching people has to stretch beyond the church doors and when we fail to recognize that we become people who are simply (as my sister says) “sucking up air.”
Although this woman and I use to attend church together, the most influential moments I remember were outside of the church house. She taught and showed me how to love people unconditionally through their faults; how a smile and hug that we perceive as simple can brighten a person’s day; how to speak up for myself when something’s not right; how to follow my gut and not the crowd; how to serve others with the right motives; and how to encourage people even when they are acting like idiots.
Re-connecting served a dual purpose. She could see some of the fruits of her labor and see how much of positive influence she truly is. I was reminded of what a pure, genuine heart of love looked like. Also, no matter what we experience in life never allow it to destroy our passion and deter us from our calling. Everyone will experience hurt but no one or nothing is worth losing yourself over. So get up, dust yourself off, and like Mufasa said in The Lion King “remember who you are.”