People in our lives come and go.
Sometimes, it really hurts.
Life is all about relationships, and so we take them seriously.
And yet, it can be so easy to forget about those people we love who are “out of sight/out of mind”.
I remember hearing a guy speak about his transition from one job to the next. He said to all of us in attendance,
“Do you know how long it will take for them to forget about you? Stick your fist into a bucket of water, then pull it out as fast as you can. The time it takes for the water to settle into the space left by the absence of your fist is about how long it will take for them to move on and forget about you.”
It struck me as a pretty negative perspective. It was less than encouraging. But I had to admit that I saw a small bit of truth in it.
A recent conversation with my son reminded me of this statement.
It’s a “downer” to realize that someone who invested heavily in people’s lives has been all but forgotten fairly quickly. It doesn’t feel right. The unfortunate part is that, because of the busy-ness of our lives, many people don’t even realize it’s happening. It’s not that we don’t care. We just don’t take time to appreciate investment because we’re running to the next big thing.
I don’t really know how it all happens, but this topic has provoked me to draw at least these 2 conclusions:
1. Don’t forget those who’ve invested and gone on.
I am who I am today (good or bad) largely due to the investment of other people who loved me and took time to speak truth and encouragement into my life. Some of those people are still close by me. Others have died, moved away, or made bad decisions with negative consequences. Regardless, they still invested in me.
While it may be true that many people don’t take time to remember, I don’t have to let it be true for me! I want to do what I can to intentionally remember the work that was done to prepare the way for what I have today. Maybe enough of us will do it and we can change the culture around us.
2. Love the masses, but put most of your effort in the few most important relationships.
Most people WILL forget us. I’m not trying to be negative….just honest. These thoughts reminded me that I can’t get my identity from my job or even the “crowd” of people I associate with. I can only REALLY make a significant difference in the lives of a few people. It would be a shame for me to dilute my efforts over hundreds of people and not be effective with the few most important relationships.
I should love people and invest wherever I can, but I have to make sure that I am FOCUSed on those that are plainly put in my path and circle of influence. This is true in your job situation as well as your personal life (friends, family, etc.) There’s only so much of you.
When you’re trying to decide which relationships to invest in, ask your self the absence question…. “Who will remember me when I’m gone?”
Who’s going to be at your funeral? When you’re old and sick, who’s going to take care of you? You may want to prioritize those people over everyone else. They’re the ones who REALLY love you. The crowds around us can be intoxicating and deceiving.
These are just some of the things bouncing around in my head. Maybe you can relate….
What can you do to show appreciation to those who’ve invested in you?
How are you investing in and prioritizing the most important people in your life?