Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where We Need To Be

Life has a way of re-prioritizing itself especially when you *think* you have your priorities straight. So while writing several blog posts was on my priority list for June, it didn't happen; life did.

June 2012 was a busy month for me in an oddly indirect way.  One of my oldest and closest friends got married to her high school sweetheart.  What makes this a big deal is that happened 35 years after high school.  They had parted ways while she was still in high school, both had married someone else, had children, gotten divorced and then had found each other again.  In finding each other they finally realized they had always loved each other and that they wanted to be together, so on June 23rd, 2012, they married.

Another dear friend celebrated a milestone birthday on June 30th.  We have been friends since high school, so celebrating in a big way was in order.  A 5-day weekend birthday gathering at a home in a resort area of northern Ontario, Canada.  That's a lot of celebrating!

I was also contacted by a friend I had not seen in years; literally decades.  She had moved to Florida and while we stayed in touch via email and the occasional phone call, I honestly can't remember the last time I physically saw her.  Her email to me was to say she was going to be in town as her mother in law was terminally ill and expected to pass on in a matter of days.

What ties all these events together is the passage of time, meaningful relationships and how life weaves people in and out of our lives at various times and always brings us to where we need to be and when we need to be there.

This is all well and good when its happy events.  We readily accept that we are meant to be there, to celebrate, to be a part of this joyous occasion; but sometimes we are faced with the other side of the coin.  Sometimes, we feel we are meant to be somewhere; but for one reason or another, weren't there.  We struggle to accept things unfold the way they are meant to and that if we were truly meant to be there, we would have been.  I experienced this first hand in June as well.  At the beginning of the month I had been contacted by a colleague of my father's who had informed me there was going to be a memorial tribute to my dad at a conference.  The problem was, it was the same day as my friend's wedding. Honestly, I was devastated.  There was no way I could be in two places at once and I was torn; I wanted to be at the conference and be part of that tribute; yet how could I possibly let down a friend on her happiest day?  To say I struggled with it would be an understatement, yet in my heart I knew that if I had meant to be at that conference, it would have been on a date that I would have been able to attend. I had to accept and believe that, for whatever reason, it was more important for me to be at the wedding; so that is where I was.

So often, this sense of "I was meant to be there but wasn't" is experienced when a loved one has died. I hear the remorse, the guilt, the shame in the one phrase spoken by family and friends alike:  "I should have been there".

I've heard stories of people rushing to the bedside of a dying family member or friend, only to arrive literally moments too late and being devastated.  Stories of people who had sat by the bedside of a parent or grandparent and who just for a minute leave their side and in that moment the person dies.  How often I have heard "I should have stayed", "I should have been there", "I should have gone sooner", "I should have visited more", the list goes on.

Yet we are always where we are meant to be; so in reality, you were not meant to be there.  You were not meant to witness a loved one's passing.  What if, your loved one actually waited until you were out of the room simply because they loved you so much they didn't want your last memory of them to be of them taking their last breath?  What if all the reasons you didn't visit sooner was part of a bigger life plan to ensure your memory of the person was filled with happy memories rather than of them struggling with illness?  What if, in some way their passing brings you closer to your destiny/purpose/calling/path?  What if, their dying was to inspire you to live fully? To dare to follow a dream?  To make the most of your life?

The lives of others weave in and out of our own always at the right time and place to aid in transforming our life and furthering our life journey.  We are always where we are meant to be and when we can accept "where we are" is exactly perfect in this moment, we can then gain insight into where we are heading and appreciate those we meet along the way for they bless our lives ~ always, for they too are exactly where they need to be.