POD #28: 3 Kinds of People
Today I celebrate my eighteenth anniversary. We almost didn’t make it the second time around. Five years into our second marriage together, it almost ended. But one person was brave enough to say what needed to be said to spark a change in me that impacted my life, my marriage, and the marriages of many others that I have spoken in to since that time. It was advise I took to heart. When I see others struggling with the same thing, I share her question with them.
Lori and I worked together at the time, and we would often talk before our day started or after the day ended about life. At the time, I was anything but nice about my husband. I was focused on everything that he was doing wrong; completely looking over the things he did that were good. And when you look for the bad, you can always find it. If the topic of husbands came up, as it often does with women, I would let anyone listening know how bad mine was.
I talk about this moment a lot, because it really did change the trajectory of my marriage and life. One day, during one of my rants, Lori asked a simple question. Why do you stay married to him?” My response was simple and genuine “Because I love him.” She stated a simple observation that was filled with profound truth. “I just wondered because you never have anything nice to say about him.” Ouch!
From that point forward I made a point to be purposeful in my talk about my husband. After all, I know that words have creative power and I was creating a very negative environment about my marriage. It was a slow process, but one I am glad that I stuck through. My husband is amazing. He is a great provider. He is loving and kind. He really does his best to be a good husband. My marriage is better and stronger and continues to grow as we speak life into each other.
My mom was always my safe person, someone who I could share my hopes and dreams with, who believed in me – even though she rarely had the right words to show it. She was always in my corner. But the prompt says currently in my world, so my mind goes to a close friend named Janna. We connected about four years ago in a Bible Study. She didn’t attend regularly, so I reached out one day and just let her know that she was missed. Our friendship grew from that one small act.
Janna believes in me and encourages me to see the potential within. She sees the best in me, even when I am at my lowest. She provides me with a different perspective that opens my eyes to what really is before me. Things that I see as common, she sees as unique. Characteristics in my own life I downplay, she highlights to me. She walked with me through two very difficult times in my life – losing a job and losing my mother. She has been a cheerleader when I needed encouragement. She has been a defender when I was wronged. She has supported every thing I have put my hand too. She helps me pour out more of myself, so that God can fill me back up again.
If there is someone I enjoy spending time with outside of my family, and really gain energy from being around it is my people. Usually those who have been hurt and are pressing through the pain to make a better life. Sometimes it is a brief encounter that changes their life and mine. Other times I have been blessed to maintain contact longer and really get to see the transformation take place.
I look back at my life and think when I worked with foster kids and their birth families – those were “my kids” and “my parents”. If I needed to talk about them, I said “One of my kids.” or “one of my parents.” People who didn’t know me well thought I was talking about my own kids and parents. I did the same thing when I was a therapist and when I was director over a single parent transitional housing program. They were “my moms”, “my kids”, “my families”. Just as I want to see my own kids succeed, I wanted to see these children and families succeed.
My people are those I can invest my time, energy, and finances into and see them improve their lives. People who will match and exceed my efforts, because they know it is their life they are working to improve. People who are holding on to hope for a better tomorrow but just don’t know how to reach it. My people will let me be a pivot person in their life and see me as a safe person for them too.