This I Believe

Katherine - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on July 7, 2007

I believe that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the people we come in contact with are vital components of the warp and woof of the tapestry of our lifetime. And we seldom know at the time which of these will become a significant thread, create a dramatically new pattern, or might be an otherwise unattractive slub that lends remarkable character to the nature of the fabric.

I came to this belief as a young girl, reading a book titled Mrs. Mike. It is a remarkable tale of a 16-year-old who traveled to the wilds of northern Canada at the turn of the 20th Century, then followed her Canadian Mounty husband—Mike—to barely settled communities. Toward the end of the book, Katherine Mary—Mrs. Mike—contemplates how the various life stories and personalities she has encountered over the years shaped the nature her life and that of her family. Some in quite harmful ways, others who taught important life lessons, and yet others who merely offered their friendship and generous spirits.

Her observation so touched me, that over the years I have made it a point to notice those moments when some slight interaction with a casual acquaintance has wormed its way into my way of thinking about a particular situation, or has influenced how I decide to react to someone’s offhand comment, or perhaps even changed the way I made a crucial life decision. Wow! Where did that come from? The answer can at times be startling.

Not always, though. Of course, there are the life lessons from my parents and from my husband, including the wealth of history and family stories he brought into our relationship. But you know, some of our silliest “couple” jokes come from a happy moment with one or the other of our ex-spouses. Yes, his ex-wives have certainly had a hand in weaving the cloth of my life. As have his children, my sister, my sister’s children, my first boss, oh—and that man at the grocery that one time when . . . Well, once you start noticing, there seem to be no limits.

This makes me eager to meet each day, wondering just who will say, or do, what that will be so important in my life . . . I wonder when?