"I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.." - For Good, from Wicked
I happen to agree with the song. Actually, I've been thinking about this lately, and I think I've hit on a very proper analogy. The only problem is, I'll sound terribly sentimental explaining it. But I'll give it a shot, anyways.
So, our hearts are rather like blocks of plain wood. We start our earthly journeys with a completely unfinished block, and as we meet, greet, brush past - interact - with other travelers, we start handing these blocks off. A sort of 'guest artist' deal, if you will.
I get your block for a time, and you get mine. We both have the opportunity to carve a little on the wood in our hands. Maybe you'll add your initials to my block, maybe I'll shave off a little curl. Ideally, at the end of our lives, the people we know will have lovingly carved a statue out of the original block.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, I gouge holes in your block, accidentally or on purpose, it doesn't matter. I've just defaced your wood, made it incomplete, hurt it deeply. The people with these gashes in their hearts get nervous. They don't want the wood defaced like that again, so they just avoid handing the wood over. They clutch it close, never trusting others with it again.
But then again, there are other people, with wood glue, and sandpaper. They fill the gouges, they smooth away the splinters and beaten edges left by destruction. And pretty soon, the injured block doesn't look so bad. The holes, the gashes; they're still there, but they're less important now. They're faults that let the real beauty of the growing statue shine through. They are there, but they don't dominate.
It sounds so pretentious, doesn't it? But still, it's interesting to meditate on. Certainly, after thinking about this for a few months, I've been more careful with how I use my tools.