Every Role Has Its Purpose (May 18, 2011)

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Updated: May 18, 2011

Students are walking the stage stepping into the next part of their lives.  It’s a wonderful time of the year.  Parents beam with pride and cry tears of joy and sadness.

For many people, change is hard.  I’ve always been one of those.  Every year at the end of the school, I remember having to be consoled by my mom because I didn’t want to “leave” the grade I was in.  It possibly couldn’t get any better.  Yet every time it did.

Now as a parent, I’m watching my daughter struggle with change.  Stayci just finished her first year of preschool.  She didn’t want to go to begin with so we struggled with that change and now it’s a struggle with not getting to go anymore.  To make matters worse, her best friends are moving away this summer.

I was very fortunate growing up.  I never had my best friends move away.  I knew Tom from the time I was born and Ian from kindergarten on.  So I can’t truly empathize with someone losing their best friends.

Lots of people are “losing their best friends” this time of year.  Read your yearbook – “Stay in touch” and “BFFs (or “Friends for Life” for the older, non-texting generation)” are common words of sentiment. That’s all well and good.  I applaud the idea that we’ll stay friends for years to come.  In 10, 25 or 50 years (whichever you choose) when you come back to your class reunion, your friends will be there.

For me, however, I look back to my senior year.  When I made my decision that Pueblo was my next step, that was it.  Fort Morgan was great.  I’d made friends, memories, and grown up there.  It had, and will always, hold a special place in who I am.

But as an 18-year-old ready to embark on the next step in my life, I was ready to reshape who Ben Blecha was.  Smart kid, band geek, tennis player, and horrible-sideburn-wearer – that’s who I was and who everyone wanted me to be (except maybe the sideburns, that was all me).  It was time to become who I truly was.

The hair grew long.  The sideburns became a beard (thank goodness).  The smart kid, band geek, and tennis player became a radio jock, sports man, and party icon.  The change was easy because, “it’s who I truly am.”

Who I “truly was” helped lead to the success we had in Pueblo at the student-run college station.  As weeks became months and months became semesters and semesters became years, connections to who I “was” became scarcer and scarcer. Was it a good thing?  The answer is yes and no.  I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for the stage where I became who I “truly was,” or more accurately who I “thought I was.”

To truly recognize who we are, we must also recognize where we’ve been.  And to recognize where we’ve been we must recognize that we’ve “been” there for a reason.  Every “BFF” we have was and is there for a reason.  And when their purpose in our lives, or ours in theirs, is done, life will move us on.

I haven’t talked to Tom or Ian in three years.  We were inseparable from 6 to 18.  But their role in my life served its purposed.  And I in theirs. The smart kid, band geek, and tennis player is now a radio jock and sports guru.  But the lesson learned is that the radio jock and sports guru have that smart kid, bad geek and tennis player to thank for existing. After all, the sports guru does pull on that smart kid’s algebra during nearly every game.