Ever look at a stranger and think, “Do I know her?” I often catch myself in a double take looking at people I think I recognize. I do this because I want to relate to others and seek the good in everyone that I meet – even strangers on the street and those that I might inadvertently judge as different. Why? Because I understand that the most unexpected people can change your life forever. Because I have learned that all people come into your life for a reason.
Not so long ago, I may not have considered just anyone for life-changing relationships. My cousin, Jason, was a terror when we were younger. Born with a congenital heart defect and expected to only live seven years, he was spoiled and allowed to do anything he wanted. My siblings and I, ever the well-behaved grandchildren, resented his rude behavior and took to thinking of him as “Bart Simpson.” We were not allowed to watch “The Simpsons” due to their crude, inappropriate behavior, so coining someone as Bart did not mean he was cool. The “Bart” in Jason did things like fling flaming marshmallows and shove sticks underneath hammocks; not activities that we found amusing.
Michael was another bad boy with whom I did not expect to develop a relationship. Following the straight and narrow path of overachievement to college, I never anticipated that a karaoke club would be a place to find true love. That first night, he approached me as an older guy who drank, smoked, and rode a motorcycle – definitely not my style. He was only a bigger, badder version of Bart Simpson that I never imagined taking home to Mom and Dad.
Back then, I wouldn’t have believed that it would be the Bart Simpsons of this world who have made me into the woman I am today. When Jason passed away at the age of seventeen, his was arguably one of the most important relationships I had formed in my life. Through our friendship, he revealed to me my inner “Bart” and taught me the fun of acting suspicious without actually doing anything wrong. Jason’s mischievous love for life continues to inspire me daily. In the same week that Jason passed away, my husband Mike came into my life; a man who proves that even “big, bad biker dudes” can lead you to true love, strong faith, and happily ever after. The “Bart” in these men is what I have grown to love most and it has taught me to appreciate all new relationships.
Even now, as I write this, I am listening to “The Simpsons” in the background while my husband watches the nightly rerun. Bart has played a huge role in my life and continues to daily. No matter who is playing the character, I now eagerly await every new relationship. Why? Because I believe that unexpected people come into our lives for a reason and that you never know who the next Bart is going to be.
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