Empty Spaces and the Art of Rebuilding

Summertime in Michigan means one thing: construction. Road construction, house remodels, landscaping ventures, and my favorite: building demolition. I was driving along a familiar route today and noticed that a hotel which has been around since I was very young is now completely demolished. Not even a rogue brick was laying in the lot it once occupied. The emptiness surprised me and I thought how unusual it is to have such an empty space in a public area.

As the hotel’s lot faded in my rear-view mirror, the empty space turned into a symbol of how I have been viewing my life lately: a field of holes. Typically my busy work schedule keeps my mind off these spaces, but the hotel brought them into focus.

I have trouble giving up on people.

I know that I cannot corral people into a pen and lock them away forever. People are born to be animated; they won’t stay put and they shouldn’t have to be convinced otherwise. So it does not surprise me, or even bother me, that relationships change and grow, and even dissipate. Where one person once held a strong presence in your life, there may now be emptiness. I understand this, but it does not mean it is an easy concept to accept.

The road the hotel once stood is the same road that carried me to my high school. I found myself thinking of the close friends I had during that time and how many of them are now distant acquaintances. Isn’t it strange how our lives are in constant motion? Sometimes it is hard to remember that people are always changing. With so much movement, it is no wonder that relationships shift, bend, build, or disappear.

I once reviewed this reality as something negative. I was frustrated when the people I once considered my best friends could so easily abandon our friendship. It was the kind of sadness that lingered over a long period of time.

Looking at that empty commercial lot made me realize something, though. I no longer feel such strong emotions for the empty spaces in my life. I have come to separate myself from such experiences and look at things a little differently. Losing people who once meant the world to me is never easy, but it can be viewed as a positive experience. Seriously, it can!

I mean, look at relationships in this way: people come into your life for a reason. They spend the allotted time they’re meant to spend with you, and then they leave because they are no longer meant to be there. During the time they are there, though, they each bring something unique and meaningful and beautiful into your life. This is what I now focus on: the purpose of the relationship and knowing that purpose has been achieved.

I may be young in years and experiences, but I feel mature in this thinking process. I don’t have to feel loss. I don’t have to feel sad. I can accept that I am continuously moving and changing and that those around me are as well. Not only is this great closure to those friendships which has reached their purpose, but it is also a relief and cause for excitement as to what the future holds: newness. Just as I am looking forward to what awaits the hotel’s empty lot (please be a Red Lobster), I am also always looking towards the new people who cross my path. With everyone viewing the world in a different light, it is virtually limitless the impact a person can make on my life, and I relish the opportunity.

We are all essentially just bumping into each other until a wrecking ball comes through and sends each of our bricks falling into something or someone else. Not all friendships are meant to be saved, but as you grow and change, work to nurture your friendships while they last and do right by the people you love. Surround yourself with people who make your life better, who make you better. It definitely doesn’t feel good to give up on people, but sometimes holding on feels worse.

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