The Best Reason People You Loved Aren’t Still in Your Life

Photo of a package of glasses on a store shelf. 

It’s said that there’s a reason that people from your past didn’t make it to the future.  Sometimes, in hindsight, you can see that the reason was a very positive one.

I lounged in a hotel room over an hour from home, waiting to hear back from my daughter and glad that, with the heavy thunderstorms and late hour, we’d decided to stay the night rather than drive back home.  I was waiting for her to call after a project related to her high school graduation project–photographing a wedding with Jessica and David Marshall of Beachbum Photography–and to find out when I needed to pick her up.  If  she loved her new mentors and they loved her, she’d be spending an extra hour picking their brains at Starbucks.  I’m not sure why I had to pick her up–she was so elated that she could have floated back to our hotel. 

It was a life-changing weekend for her, in terms of her career as a professional photographer  and college plans.

But as I was waiting for her call, I couldn’t help but marvel at how so many incredible mentors have come into her life in the past few months.  Besides Jessica and David, she is blessed to have Jan of Jan Bus Designs and Amanda Suanne as mentors, plus a lot of advice from her photography pal, Elysia Griffin of Fenyx Design.  These are all doors that have opened to her in a few short months of losing her first mentor–and when they opened, they opened wide, peeling back like a curtain in front of a stage.

It’s a sort of a Biblical Job effect, I decided, suddenly remembering several mentors from my own past.  Empty gaps were filled in joyous ways I could not have imagined.  Very few of my original mentors are still in my life.  I’d be hard-pressed to name even one right now.  Several have died, and they always will hold a cherished place in my heart.   Others, we went our separate ways over petty or significant disagreements or both.  Some, at the time, felt like tragic losses to me.  I couldn’t understand then how it was that a beloved mentor and I would ever reach a point of no return, though in hindsight, it usually involved a matter of boundaries being respected and the difficult transition from a teacher-student relationship to one of equal partners. 

It’s only through time that I have come to understand that there was no other way for me to grow than to close doors to previous mentors and seek out new ones to guide me on my journey.  They could go with me only so far.  For me to continue to travel with them, I either had to follow their path instead of mine or we both had to stand still.  Had I stayed with those mentors or had they stayed with me, even the ones who left me by dying, I would not have learned and grown and moved forward as I have, and that’s the best reason that many people from my past didn’t make it to my present or future.

Mentors and guides are all part of the journey, but when we get to walk forward along parallel paths and wave to each other as our paths weave in and out, then we are all very blessed.