A Reason. A Season. Or a Lifetime.

oakThere is a lovely poem, author unknown, that has been around for quite a while. The poem alludes to the fact that every person who comes into our life is there for one of these three purposes.

The season and lifetime folks almost need no explanation. The one that is the most fascinating to me are the ones who cross our path for a specific reason.

There are no accidental meetings, I am convinced of this. Having moved around the U.S. for my entire life, I am quick to explore the purpose that each new acquaintance might serve. And there have been so very many.

One of the most poignant of these was a lady I met through a volunteer program at an elementary school that my children attended in the South.

Her name was Debbie. She was in her 1st grade daughter’s classroom every single day. She would serve as teacher assistant, provide snacks, reading assistance, entertainment. She would dress up as a clown, as Santa Claus or Rudolph, or Winnie the Pooh. There was no limit to her contribution.

The children loved her, the teacher appreciated her, but she had another purpose. Her daughter had been born with inoperable brain tumors. She needed to wear a heavy helmet to prevent an accidental fall or blow to the head which for her, could be fatal. The very decision to mainstream this child into a regular school was bravery beyond belief.

I was the school Volunteer Coordinator at the time, and I came to know Debbie very well. Her daughter’s health issues were not the first challenge this woman had faced.

She shared very intimate, personal information about her own past. She was born in poverty to a large family in rural West Virginia. She and her family had come here to South Carolina years ago to escape some horrible childhood circumstances. She had been sexually abused over many years by her 5 brothers. She was certain that they would take aim at her only child, and she was determined to get away before this could happen.

We had many conversations about depression, she was what was known as a rapid-cycling bipolar, her moods shifting within hours from high to low. She shared with me some details about her many suicide attempts growing up. This led to an evening when I believe I was sent to save her from yet another attempt.

Sometime during a PTA function at the school, I noticed the intensity. She was different. She talked about all the pills she had been able to gather and hinted that maybe this was her time.

She left the program slightly early. I was committed to stay till the end. I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. I had never been to her home, she lived in a local trailer park not far from the school. I figured I could locate her by her car; but it was dark, and it took some doing.

When I did find her, she told me I was crazy, stumbling around the park, knocking on doors late at night, risking the guard dogs and possibly a few shotguns pointed in my direction. I was clueless, but I made it there.

We had a long conversation. I opened up about some of my childhood issues, spoke of the desire to end my young life, tried to rationalize why the attempts failed. I think she saw me in a new light and could relate on another level.

She didn’t take her life that night. I’m certain she most likely tried again. But at least for then, she endured and woke to a new day.

This was not the first encounter I’d had with a suicidal person. It was about the 4th or 5th. It seemed to get a bit easier to find the words each time it happened. Maybe this was the reason I had survived so many years ago. It certainly opened my eyes to others pain. And maybe these folks were drawn to me for similar reasons. Empathy.

Probably because of logistics, these people did not stay in my life for very long. For a while, we were being transferred about every 4 years. And once we moved away, I was sure to break the connection. There was just not enough space in my heart and mind to carry these worries forward. We all knew this. That was okay.

We were together for the reason. And that was enough.

Here is the full poem.

People come into your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do with that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty…
To provide you with guidance and support…
To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually…
They may seem like they are a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die…
Sometimes they walk away…
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand….
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled…
Their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has now been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON.
Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons.
Things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being a part of my life…
Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime


This entry was posted in Childhood, Depression, Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to A Reason. A Season. Or a Lifetime.

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    You do have the empathy to spot a person in trouble. God be with you and this young woman.

  2. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Wow. What a powerful story! I’m not alone in my thinking that people show up for a reason…..how wonderful that you were there for her and apparently for others before her. Obviously you have been given a very special purpose……you have strong shoulders!

  3. Erika Kind says:

    Van, this is just such an amazing post! So very poignant and deeply moving. I am amazed by the way you look beyond the encounter of people and them leaving again in your life. And the poem is definitely reaching the essence. Thank you so very much for sharing. This is a treasure! I will make a not and reblog it tomorrow. I have already published so many posts today.

  4. Erika Kind says:

    Reblogged this on Erika Kind and commented:
    In addition to my Monday post yesterday regarding the struggle and confusion when friends are turning away from us, I want to introduce you to a beautiful post, Van wrote quite some time ago! It gave me goosebumps.

  5. Keith says:

    Well said, your lead in and the poem.

  6. BERKANALUZ says:

    Precioso y muy motivador…saludos….

  7. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh, Van!!! How much I do relate to you in so many ways! Your post made me think and in so doing realized something that had been bothering me, how most people do not seem to stay in my life for long. Now I have understanding and you are perfectly right about something …. I too am an empath and I can only handle so much “pain” from others. This is probably the main reason why people come and go, needing my “light” and assistance for a season, and then going on. Bless you for this post. It is spot on!! ❤

  8. Judy Martin says:

    What a fabulous story, Van. I believe too that people come into our lives for a reason, and I am sure this young lady was happy to have you coming into her life 🙂

  9. I do relate so very much to your post and have same minding about new souls, as we meet.
    Great post 😀

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