You may have heard of “A Reason, A Season, or A Lifetime” before seeing it here, but this phrase was new to me when I heard it last night. Someone I had just met mentioned this phrase, and although I did not have a “textbook” definition of it, I immediately understood what it meant. We were talking about relationships and the fact that all relationships do not last, and are not even meant to last. As one who holds onto everything, including people, I initially had difficulty accepting this. But after thinking about this more deeply, I realized that it is true. Some people come into our lives for a reason. The reason may be that we need to learn a lesson through our relationship with them, and when the lesson is learned, their reason for being a part of our life is finished, and usually, so is the relationship. If we try to hold on to the relationship when it is over, we are left empty and disappointed. If we are able to see the relationship for what it was, valuing them for the reason they were sent to us, we are able to move on without feeling lost or rejected. I can think of someone in my past who fulfilled this role, and likely, so can you.
There are people who come into our lives for a season, and just like each season gives way for the next, our relationship with the one who is with us for a season changes, and often ends. This “seasonal” relationship does not always coincide with the changing of the seasons; It may span several seasons. But when its time is up, so is the relationship. Our season with this person may be about blooming and growing, such as spring and summer. It may also be just about change, which each season represents, and through our relationship with them, we change and develop into a better self. When the growth and development have happened, our need for them changes, and we move on, or they do. I am thinking of several people who fulfilled this for me, and others who I helped in this way. I imagine you also have some people in mind who were with you “seasonally.”
And then, there are people who are with us for a lifetime, and we and they change and grow together. All of the change and growth is not pleasant, but it is change and growth nonetheless. Family usually falls in this category, although just because we are family does not in and of itself mean that we will have each other for a lifetime. Some people find it impossible to remain close to some family members, creating family with non-blood relatives. There are also friends some of us have who we are closer with than we are with our biological family. So, in some cases, “family” is more of a heart issue than a biological one. Think of the people you have been with for a lifetime, who you enjoy being with, and those others who you have also had in your life for a lifetime, that you don’t enjoy, and may even avoid. “Lifetime” is not always forever, but when it is and learning and growing together is involved, the depth of the relationship is life-altering. Some family members and friends come easily to mind, and they probably do for you as well. And others come to mind also.
What are the messages in this? For me, there are several. One, all of my relationships are important; some for a reason, some for a season, and some for a lifetime. I want to be clear about the differences. Second, I want to better understand the different relationships, and give to them and expect from them only what they are capable of being. To do differently only sets us up for disappointment.
Finally, I want to celebrate all of my past and present relationships and honor the people who were with me and are with me for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. I am better because of each one.