May 12, 2011

The Strangers in Our Lives

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.” ~ unknown

When I was on my bike this morning I ran into (no we did not crash) a fellow rider who was pretty much on my pace on the same road.  As we talked a bit, it turned out he was going to be headed in the same direction as me for the next six miles.  His plan was to take a different path until I shared with him the route I took that was much quieter, safer, and a little more scenic.  Instead of taking his road, he followed me and we shared a nice conversation on the road home.  As we came to the place where our mutual journey would end, we exchanged the usual pleasantries and he thanked me for showing him this new route.  I may never see him again, likely I won’t; but, or twenty minute interaction will benefit him every time he heads into that area on his rides.

People continuously enter our lives.  Sometimes they hang around for a while, sometimes they are there and then gone.  The interesting thing about those interactions is that if you are paying attention, if you are being open and receptive, and if you are giving or yourself most of those engagements are memorable and offer value to someone in the process.  I know those are pretty big “ifs” and most of you are not as readily sociable and engaging as I am.  However, I will share that for the better part of eighteen months I didn’t feel to sociable or receptive or giving and I still there were people who came into my life and made a lasting difference.  Some have stuck around, others have done their work and left; regardless, there are people who come into our lives every single day looking to help us or looking for what we have to offer.

I have learned and discovered and experienced so much about the power of being present to the gifts offered and needs of those around me.  I cannot explain what it has meant to me to be touched by strangers who saw or felt my need and offered their advice and support.  I cannot describe the feeling of excitement and joy that comes when your authentic, real, and sincere support is given to someone else.  We have opportunities every single day to receive and share gifts.  The challenge is to be aware of and receptive to the people around us.

Next time you are going through the paces in your life, put your head up, pay attention to those around you and offer yourself to them.  A simple hello is all you need to do to get things started.  Next time a stranger wants to meet with you, make time for them.  There is a reason for that call or that request – until you make time and are open to and in the meeting, you will not discover the real opportunity that exists.  You have a unique opportunity to touch and be touched – enjoy the experiences and the lessons, they will stay with you forever.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.