One week ago, I returned from a weekend-plus trip to Annapolis/DC. My brother lives in that area, and I lived there after I graduated from college. Vacations to places like that, where I am visiting someone as well as reminiscing my own adventures, feel very purposeful to me.
I think highly of my family, so spending several days with my brother was a treat. Not only because he has a sense of humor I envy, but he’s a cool guy and an awesome cook. We spent most of the trip in the kitchen baking and cooking. To be honest, food has tasted quite bland since I returned home.
We spent one day visiting DC, so I could see places I missed, and hug a few important people. There’s something about that city that brings out the best in me. It’s so full of intelligent, motivated people that even riding the metro makes me feel like I have the strength to change the world.
I have an account on Eharmony. A service which I refuse to pay for and, therefore, has been completely unsuccessful. One of the questions in the profile that I enjoyed answering is a common one, “The most influential person in my life has been ____”.
Here’s the problem with the English language. The verb, “to be” means different things. I could say, the most influential person in my life has been strong, courageous, a mentor, happy, sad, or to Russia. That’s not what people want to know. I’m supposed to answer with the name of the most influential person in my life.
How literal do we want to be? I mean, my mom is pretty influential. Without her, I wouldn’t have life (thanks, mom). Then you have the “Christian” answers: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, my pastor. Or there’s the person who showed me a certain career path, or helped me understand love. I could even include people I don’t like, who taught me the kind of person I don’t want to become.
Spending time with my brother and visiting a city that played such a crucial role in my becoming an adult, reminded me how thankful I am for the influential people in my life. I can’t narrow down the number of influential people to ten, much less one. For this, I am extremely thankful and yes, blessed.
Last week I spent time with the person who taught me to think creatively. I also hugged the person who taught me about career and calling, then the person who opened my eyes to my value and worth, then the one who taught me about work, courage, and adventure. One day, I saw the person who taught me to laugh until I cry, and the next, a person who took a risk with me and changed the course of my life. Six people who directly influenced the moment I’m living right now.
I returned from that trip feeling:
The many people who weave in and out of our lives shape us and teach us. We also do the same for others. I will never know my sphere of influence – the amount of people I’ve hurt or helped. I hope that I continue to follow good people, because the lives of those I follow are reflected back onto those who are following me.