There is a poem that begins "People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person."
The poem says 'reason' people are are there to fulfill a need, to aid you in something immediate and once the need is met, they are gone.
'Season' people come to help you grow. The bring laughter, peace and teach you things you didn't know. They bring you joy.
'Lifetime' people teach you lifelong lessons; lessons that you learn and then pay forward to teach someone else. Lifetime folks help you build solid emotional foundations that you continue to build upon.
As I get older, I think a lot about the people in my life who I classified as reasons, seasons or lifetimes, only to find out over time that I was wrong. Those who I thought were only going to be there for an insignificant reason turned out to remain for long long seasons of my life. And the ones that I was confident were with me for life actually ended up being just a seasonal blip. Seasons don't have a defined time. A season can be decades.
One expects that familial relationships are for a lifetime. But families fall out, parents and children drift apart, sisters and brothers stop speaking to one another. Husbands and wives divorce. We begin, or are born into, these relationship that we are certain will last for life but sadly we are wrong. That's not to say that we didn't get a lifetime worth of love, laughter and learning. We most likely did and then some. But things end. People walk away, drift away or die.
Thinking about it started to make me sad, but then I was reminded that Jesus said "lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age." Matthew 28:20
He is actually the only one guaranteed for a lifetime. He said He is with you - not was with, or gonna be with, but IS with, right now at this very moment. When everyone else is gone, Jesus is with you, right where you are. In the midst of your pain, hurt, sadness, joy, blessings, failures and successes. When you are up and when you are down. When relationships end and at the beginning of new ones. On the job and in the unemployment line. When the kids are acting up and when your parents pass away. When you remember the abuses you suffered and when you acted completely out of character and hurt the ones you love. He is still there. And He is always going to be there. Until the end of time.
He loves you. It doesn't matter what you've done, who you've hurt, who hurt you, who walked away from you or who you walked away from. He loves you still and always.
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
I am grateful for the people who were in my life for a reason, and for those who were/are here for a season but my heart is full of joy for the One who is here for my lifetime. And nothing will separate us.