There are two reasons we meet people. The first is because of inevitability: we might work with them, sit next to them in class, or know someone who knows them. The other reason is fate: we were destined to meet them, no matter what the circumstances…for better or for worse. When it comes to the people in our lives, whether by inevitability or fate, I do not think that we have a choice in the matter. I believe that the people we meet, no matter how briefly, have an impact on our lives.
I once met an elderly gentleman very briefly while working as a cashier. I never knew WHO this man was, but he left me with ideas and wisdom I will never forget. He wore a huge white cross around his neck and was pointed at by other customers (obviously being ridiculed by his large mark of faith). When he spoke, it was with a heavy accent and an almost tired sound…and I felt extremely sympathetic. He spoke about his faith and hopes for only a moment, paid for his items, then turned and said, “God bless you, young lady.” It may sound strange, but I really did feel blessed, simply because a complete stranger wished me well. I saw him once or twice more before I left that job, but I never spoke to him again…and he was always wearing that cross. That cross, which I remember so clearly, was always around his neck covering his kind heart…and that impacts me to this day.
Another incident I remember quite precisely is when my best friend came out to me last year. We were driving when he confessed he had been disgusted with himself lately. He found himself repulsive, simply because he found the “wrong” sex attractive. Then, for the first time I had ever seen in our many years of friendship, he cried. He cried because he knew his family wouldn’t accept him, because he thought I wouldn’t accept him. I will never forget that moment…the moment where our bond became that much stronger. And even if I were to never see him again, I know that he would have impacted my life…even if just because of that one moment in time. I’ll never forget the look of revulsion on his face, or the way my heart had shattered to see him cry. And after that moment, I knew I would never judge someone based on who they love. Because of this man, I will love unconditionally…and THAT is the impact he has left on me.
Whether it’s someone you meet for a moment or know for a lifetime, they can impact you in ways you could never think possible. You could feel differently, think differently, or even speak different thanks to that small contribution they’ve made to your life. Every person, no matter how small, will be an impact in someone else’s life…this, I believe.