i’ve been thinking a lot about heart strings, invisible threads, and the ways in which people enter your story for a page or a chapter and change the entire ending. regardless of whether people come into your life by fate or chance, i’ve always been the kind of person that believes our interactions result in a connection. and so by the end of our lives, we could have an infinite amount of threads linked to other people’s lives, memories, and stories. and although it’s been grudgingly so, i’ve come to accept that not all people are here to stay; i’ve learned that the lesson and impact they bring often requires an ending.
because of friday, i’ve been thinking about all of the people that come into our lives for different lengths of stay. i like the idea of an invisible thread that links you to all of the people that shape who you become in this life. perhaps it is a ball of tangled string- sometimes tied complicatedly in knots and sometimes loosely bound together- or an uncountable amount of strings that run parallel to one another. but mostly, i just like the idea of an invisible thread that links one person to another; like somehow, our individual life stories are now part of each other’s. and so i’ve been thinking about the people i am bound to. the thread that taught me not to attach my identity to another person. the thread from high school that formed from an unlikely friendship between myself and an adult in recovery from substance abuse. the interwoven threads of kindness from people like the frail Chinese woman who prayed over my body in the parking lot or the nurse who walked across the street to the convenience store to buy me reese’s pieces when i had meningitis because it was the only thing i would eat. a thread that was a lesson in heartache from the boy who taught me about the strength it requires to put yourself back together. my college chemistry professor who i spent tuesday afternoons with. the sheepish grin that taught me about hope and what life can be like when you lose it. the thread to your father- the first person to show me what a mandolin sounds like. i’ve been thinking about my invisible threads stretched out across this world; the attachment to the Egyptian eye doctor and his Polish girlfriend who found us crossing the nile river and took us out to dinner; the new york city taxi driver who coincidentally ended up being our driver for two consecutive nights; the man from Turkey who showed us his grandmother’s rugs over a hot cup of tea. and maybe it’s so that i could say goodbye, but i like to think about all of the ways in which our lives are now intertwined. in the ways that i’ll see red converse shoes and deep ocean eyes and think of you.
so maybe some people don’t come into your life to stay forever. maybe we will each go off and do a million separate things and maybe our life paths will never cross again, but the thing about threads is that you can’t undo what has already been formed. i believe that people stay long enough- even if only for a moment- to impact your existence and to help write out your story. like the strangers in the check-out line that teach you about patience or the ordinary people who do extraordinary things in the corner of their world that teach you about humility. the child on the airplane with an endless amount of questions that reminds you to wonder. the people you see on the street or wandering through the town that teach you about strength and acceptance. and if life has taught me anything, it’s that some people’s stay will never be long enough. i don’t have the answer for that, i don’t know why it is that they sometimes leave before we are ready. all i know is that maybe you don’t get to decide how they leave, but you can choose which parts of them stay with you. and so on days like today, i remember how important it is to think about the people who have impacted us- both positively and negatively- and to be grateful for those lessons, those threads. we can only hope to experience this life in it’s entirety and so we take in the good and the bad and every little thing in between. love intertwined with heartache. loss accompanied by strength, hope, and growth. a million failed attempts and one moment of success. endings that become beginnings. the people that teach you about self-discipline, motivation, and perseverance. a million words and one set of ears that will listen. and when you think about all of the threads that comprise the person that you are, think about the ways in which you have impacted the people around you. what lessons have you taught? what message did you send? and are your threads ones of love and kindness?
what i know about invisible threads is that if you give people the chance, they will surprise you. connections are formed when you put your phone down and lift your head up. when you offer a smile or change someone’s day. when you look someone in the eye on the elevator or really listen to what people have to say. they are formed when you realize that at every given moment, your life is being changed by the people around you. invisible threads link us to unsuspecting people in the most beautiful of ways. you may not get to choose who comes into your life, when they leave, or what lesson they bring, but you do have a say in the way you link yourself to other people in this world.
and with all of these words, i guess i’m trying to say that i’ve been thinking about how so many parts of my life are not mine alone- and i’m comforted by the idea that so many parts of our lives are experienced together.
and so this is for monday mornings and for letting me be a part of your growth.
i like where our stories meet.