My 15-year-old daughter just recently returned from a trip to Ontario, and we got talking about her current girlfriends and her hopes that they would remain close as they grow up. She’s only just beginning to grasp the importance of friendship and love and how those experiences will come and go.
As we celebrate Father’s Day, and our annual Men To Watch issue, it got me thinking about my dad. 23 years ago, when I was 28, I lost my dad to cancer. It was a time of huge emotions: disappointment, anger, disbelief, sadness and confusion. I really thought it was all his fault. I blamed him. After all, he was my best friend. I can remember for months after his death, having his picture in my office, talking to him and asking: “Why did you do this to me? Why did you end our relationship so quickly?”
At the time, none of it made sense but as my experiences in life have grown, those memories and wounds have been better understood and healed. We all get faced with adversity. I’ve been thinking about the fact that we don’t get to choose our parents or siblings; they are part of the hand that is dealt to us. Our friends and lovers … do we choose them, or do they stumble into our lives for a reason? Perhaps it’s both. Just like life itself: do we fully have control of it or is it predetermined by some mysterious force? It could also be both.
I think it’s important that we think positively of negative people in our lives. These people give us the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. We learn about our own reaction to their negative energy and realize who we really are, and we end up growing emotionally and intellectually. But we also encounter people who bring positive energy to us and come into our lives to pull out the underdeveloped part of us, beyond what a teacher would teach us. They help explore the unknown within us, a journey that can change our perspective. I like this take from Wayne Dyer about trusting divine order: “viewing the past as a play in which all characters and all entrances and exits were scripted by your Source and represent what you attracted at the time, frees you from guilt, and even revenge. As a result you go from being an actor who’s influenced by others playing the roles of producer and director, to being the writer, producer, director, and star of your glorious life. Imagine, you can audition anyone you choose!”
So I tell my daughter, having just been to Stratford to see the play The Tempest, that regardless of how, where and why people come into our lives, we should gain and fill our plates with knowledge, and take trust from it.