“There’s nought so queer as folk!” So goes the English saying that expresses simply the mind-boggling variety of different people in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes. Each with their own patterns of behaviour, views and preferences. Each with their own memories and dreams.
Given the vast array of different people in our world, and the ever-decreasing distance between us – thanks to the rise of electronic communications, it is almost a given that we will at some point meet people who we find odd or downright irritating. People who, no matter what we do or how much we try, we just cannot get on with or see eye-to-eye with (and I speak from humble experience). We will also find people who we grow to love, who have something in common with us, who energise us or support us in our quest to become the best we can be.
Whether they are “our sort of person” or not, the people we come into contact with often have some measure of influence over our lives and who we become. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Sometimes they just change us – not necessarily for better or for worse.
Last week I said goodbye to a greatly respected colleague who was moving on to a new and exciting role in pastures new. He had been a great support and teacher in the years we had worked together and I was rather dreading departure day. It was horrible having to say goodbye knowing that he would never again join us for lunch in the canteen or be there to bounce an idea off. But today, the first day back in the office, I realised that one of the things he had taught me was how to be self-sufficient. He had encouraged me to think of the bigger picture, to dream big and reach for the stars and in the wake of his leaving that was exactly what I was starting to do. He’d had a real influence on my work life that I had never even realised until he was gone.
It got me thinking back to when I left my last job and couldn’t find the words to express how much I had appreciated the time, support and help of my colleagues through the years I had spent there. In the end, as a BIG fan of all things stage musical, I decided to use the words of a remarkable song from the musical “Wicked” which seemed to sum up everything I felt about all the people I had crossed paths with. Some were my sort of people. Some were the opposite. But either way I had learned something from them all.
We might not always like everyone we meet. We might not want to spend time with them, but you can be sure that they can all teach you something. Those we love will probably change us the most and whatever we face with or without them will leave its mark on us.
Don’t be afraid of what you might learn. It might be a hard lesson but it will be valuable. It might hurt, but it might make you stronger. Whatever happens – you will be changed. And in return you may change those around you.
“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow – if we let them and we help them in return.
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true,
But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you I have been changed for good
It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime
So let me say before we part so much of me is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me like a hand print on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine by being my friend…
…Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better
And because I knew you…I have been changed for good.”
(Extract from the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked, by Stephen Schwartz)
(Image by Photostock – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2125)