Knowing that it’s our 30th anniversary this year, and also looking back over 30 years of history brought to mind a famous poem written by someone unknown. It’s a poem that has had a fairly profound impact on my life – and that continues to put things in perspective for me all the time.
Gena Robertson, Executive Director SIRCH
It’s called A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime.
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.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
This poem has, as I’ve said, made a big difference in my life. It’s helped me let the people who come, come and the people who go, go. And to appreciate the people who are currently in my life teaching me things.
I also apply this poem to SIRCH.
Lots of people come to SIRCH for a REASON. It may be their reason – they may have needed some information or guidance or support. They may have needed a job, or needed to connect. The reason may have been to show a student what would turn out to be her life passion, or to give a volunteer something to be passionate about.
Or it could be SIRCH’s reason – the person could be there (whether we like them or not) to help us grow or change. They could be a mentor – like the consultant who asked “why don’t you make your own money – you have lots of expertise within your organization” and started us on the road to consulting, then social enterprise. It could be the funder who rejected our evaluation efforts multiple times in 1992, but who made subsequent government evaluations look easy and cause relatively little distress. It could be the woman in the abusive relationship, or the child who was doomed to not succeed in school or the family that had no food – all of whom helped create the programs that have served so many.
(Sometimes it’s both their reason and ours.)
People involved in SIRCH for a SEASON have helped to shape the organization. People who spent months or years honing the programs or services or social enterprises that they were or are responsible for. Some were staff, some volunteers, some community partners, colleagues, or mentors. Some have left at the most inconvenient times but then when they left, it made us re-think the position or program, or it made way for someone else just as great to take over.
And sometimes, like the volunteers who were committed to Hospice or Women’s Emergency House and who moved on when those programs were divested or closed, there is both a reason and a season.
Then there are the lifers. The volunteers, staff, funders or partners who stick by SIRCH for years and years. Like Wendy, who has been staff, management, volunteer and board member for probably 25 years. Or Dorothy Owens who was the 3rd person I ever hired, who worked for the very first program, started Hospice, was a board member, did some consulting, developed some resources, did some training, and volunteered for nearly 30 years on an off although mainly on. There are funders who have funded us for 25 years. There are donors who donate unfailingly every year. People who, by their commitment and continuing support, let us know we’re still true to the philosophy and vision of SIRCH.
So as we continue into our 30th year, I hope you join me in treasuring and appreciating all the people who are, or have been, or will be involved with SIRCH for a REASON, a SEASON or a LIFETIME.