There are moments in life when you’re more grateful than usual for the people you’ve had the privilege of knowing and who made a difference in how your own story has played out.
I had one of those reflection points recently when I moved offices and found myself sorting through decades’ worth of memories that had made their home in my workplace.
One such memory was a decorative acrylic box awarded to my mother for her philanthropy that sits as a reminder on my shelf. It contains a beautiful quote from Albert Schweitzer:
At times our own light goes out,
And is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude
Of those who have lighted the flame within us.
We have all come across people who kindle the sparks in others, but sometimes we’re not present enough to recognize them. If we look hard enough, though, they’re all around us.
The co-worker who never forgets a birthday. The neighbor who organizes front-yard happy hours. The event host who goes out of his way to recognize the hard work of those who made the event successful. The colleagues who – even though they don’t have to – stick their necks out for you and help you grow as a professional.
I’ve met all of those people. And they’ve made my life richer.
Even when they’re not at their best – even when I’m not at my best – I’m grateful to them and for what they’ve given me: their respect, their time, and the privilege of knowing them.
I recently lost a friend like this – she was just a person, like all of us, but she went out of her way to kindle the spark in others. She did that for me early in our careers, and she’s always held a special place in my heart because of it and then some.
I think of her whenever I’m at the beach in Coronado, Calif., one of her favorite places, and one of mine as well because of her.
Take time to see others – truly see them – and be there for them, whether they’re the co-worker you barely know or the friend you’ve known for so long they seem like they’ll always be there. Hopefully they will be, but we’re not in charge, so there are no guarantees.
Share your light, and be grateful for those who share their light with you.