“Relationships exist for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”
If we measure relationships by this sentiment, we are never disappointed when they end because we understand every connection has significance. The ending of a relationship should not be defined as a failure, it should be recognized as a lesson—a lesson imparted by the teachings of the relationship.
I read a story recently about a young woman who lost her life. Her friends described her as,“a person who collected friends.” I don’t think this young woman kept in contact with every person she befriended, but she honored every relationship despite its ending.
We collect the energy from the people who surround us, just as we inhale and exhale. Our entire existence is a collection of breath. We can not hold onto the last breath we took, yet that breath will carry us to our present breath. A person’s physical presence may or may not last within our life, but the knowledge he or she donates from the experiences we share together (positive or negative) remains with us, just like our breath.
When my ex-husband and I decided to separate, people reacted with sadness, pity, disappointment and anger. We assume relationships end because something went wrong; one or both members of the partnership were unfaithful, disloyal and untruthful. Whether this occurs within a relationship or not, there is one commonality in every relationship; relationships end because it is time, because what two people were supposed to accomplish and learn from one another, is complete.
I do not see the ending of my marriage as a failure, but a successful masterpiece. We have built a friendship that will sustain a lifetime, and created two precious human beings who brighten the world. The people on the periphery of our lives reacted in fear, because of the expectations they placed on our relationship. “You are married. You should be together forever. You can’t get divorced, you have children.”
The reason why Keith and I were able to accept that our marriage was over, is that we stopped forcing ourselves to fulfill the expectations impressed on our relationship, and accepted our purpose in each other’s lives. We stopped holding our breath and let go. We accomplished our work together. We had inhaled the wisdom from the years of our marriage and acknowledged it was time to exhale and take a new breath. When we begin with an expectation, we end with disappointment. Disappointment fosters feelings of failure, guilt and resentment. We question and regret the relationship, instead of accepting it for what it is.
Every person and experience is a rung on our ladder of life.
We keep constructing our ladder with faith as the side rails. We strive to grow that ladder as high as it will go, because every experience and interaction infuses us with knowledge.When we climb higher we transform that knowledge into wisdom. The more wisdom we acquire, the more we connect to others on a spiritual level and become discerning about who we invite into our lives. Our ladder of wisdom grows stronger and taller and our relationships become meaningful, pure and easy.
We no longer attach to relationships or outcomes when we see each relationship for what it is; a lesson, a period in our lives that was necessary to help us grow and see our true selves.
I am fortunate and blessed because I parted my marriage with a relationship that embraces all three, “a reason, a season, and a lifetime.”
Our life is filled with a collection of relationships, each one a tutorial on life, guiding us a little closer to the top of our ladders as we inhale a little more understanding of who we are.