One of the amazing things about connecting with other people is when you get to see a little glimmer of who they are outside of how you know them.
We all have milestones that define us, impact us, shape us, form us. We have positive and wonderful things that have happened. We might have tragedy and chaos behind us.
Sometimes, I am struck by the possibilities of each individual that I encounter and what their story might be.
I feel blessed when I am honored by learning about someone's past and how they've become who they are. I feel honored when I get to see a side of someone that isn't their norm.
Maybe it's finding out that the ultimate family man at church grew up in a rough neighborhood, surrounded by gang activity, making poor choices as his family struggled.
Or finding out that the slim and trim powerhouse of a petite woman at work used to be morbidly obese and lost it all through healthy eating and exercise and has kept it off for more than 20 years.
Or being blessed with a performance in church by an entire family that sings together.
I have my own background that I know is pretty amazing. I know my own positive and negative milestones that have helped me form into this person that I am today.
I've known financial struggle in my childhood. I've known the pain and rage of being a sexually abused child. I've experienced the loss of friendships due to an unexpected out of state move. I've made desperate and hurtful choices against my parents. I've been given the gift of an incredible education without attached debt. I've married for the wrong reasons and divorced for the right ones. I've found love that is indescribable with Jeff and our children.
When you see me in the grocery store, picking out Lean Cuisines from the giant freezer... there is no way to know that I have all of that inside me, behind me. When you cut me off on the highway, you can't possibly understand where I've come from. When you snap at me on the phone because I don't have the answer you want at work, you can't possibly get that your irritation and attempts to be hurtful are pretty laughable to me.
I have to remember the same holds true as I go out and see others. It isn't my business to know everyone else's story. But I do need to remember that everyone else has a story. Some people that I encounter are still in the midst of the struggles that are writing that story. Some people haven't yet found the path of better choices that will help them live that better life.
And if I'm lucky... as I get to know someone... as I gain respect for someone because of how they live their life... I might get to learn about their story and their amazing life that has brought them to this place.
How about you? How about your own amazing life or the amazing lives around you?