It is easily and often overlooked just how much the choices / decisions / actions of others can impact (or maybe even change the course of) one’s life.

Sometimes it’s the simplest of things – like noticing that someone on the opposite team in your college bowling class is wearing a class ring from the same high school you graduated from. A simple statement like “I like your class ring” just may result in a 20 plus year marriage, and family of five children!

Maybe it’s a former co-worker (that I did not interact with) who happened to stop into the store you worked at together, and just by chance threw out an offer to get together for pizza after my shift ended (that I almost turned down). Twenty eight years later, and we are still “hanging out” together!

Or even a simple comment left on a blog that you just happen to stumble upon.
A comment that you never expected to even get a response from. A comment that has led to a 6+ year / 800+ mile friendship!

These… These are all simple interactions. Chance encounters – but ones that directly involved me on some level.

Sometimes, it’s a choice, decision, or action taken without your involvement that impacts your live.

Case in point… Earlier this week a Facebook status update about just such a decision / action left me so profoundly overwhelmed that I could not help but reflect on its meaning in my life.

(Out of respect for the person in question - the source’s identity of this status update was hidden. I used their update (which was my inspiration) without their consent or knowledge – although many of my readers are mutual friends, and may recognize the identity.)

I read the status update, and a couple of things crossed my mind.

Initially, my thoughts were of respect for the parents of this family. Personally, I get nervous just thinking about leaving home for two week vacation. The idea of pulling up roots and leaving everything you know and love behind to flee your native homeland in order to relocate in a foreign country on the other side of the world – is beyond my imagination. Words like courageous, brave, committed, and even heroic come to mind.

Then, I started reflecting on the results of that decision.

  • A decision made by someone approximately 8,400 miles away.
  • A decision that was made many years before I would even cross paths with the family.
  • A decision that would lead this person’s family and my life on a collision course.
  • A decision that changed my life for the better, and I will forever be grateful for.
  • A decision that resulted in a friendship that has lasted more than thirty five years, spanned elementary school, junior high, high school, college, and various stages of adulthood.
  • A decision that placed a person in my life who became one of the closest and longest maintained friendships I have.

Even beyond that initial decision, I am overwhelmed by the infinite number of forks in the road that needed to be chosen in a certain manner in order for our lives to cross.  Had even one of those forks been taken down a different path, I may have never been fortunate enough to have this friend in my life.

It’s sort of like reflecting on the vastness of the universe. It’s so overwhelming that it is simply mind blowing!

Despite (or maybe because of) the overwhelming odds of our lives crossing paths, I will be forever appreciative and grateful for the presence of this person in my life.  This person who has been supportive of me throughout the years, who has taught me so many things, and who still (all these years later) inspires me on regular basis. After reading their status update and taking some time to reflect on its meaning, I am also wondering if I have ever truly expressed (or if they realize) just how important this person is to me, and how appreciative I am to have them in my life.

This updated proved to be a good reminder how one small choice, decision, or act could impact the remainder of one’s life.

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