This past spring, my mother and I saw Wicked at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. It wasn’t the first time I had seen it; I had previously seen it on West End in London nearly three years earlier.

If you’re familiar with the show, you’d know that one of the best songs in the entire show pops up in Act II. It’s a duet between Elphaba and Glinda, titled “For Good,” and it’s about the duo parting ways and how their friendship has affected one another.

Maybe it was because at the time that I first saw Wicked, I had significantly less life experience and fewer significant events in my life to look back on, but this time, the song resonated with me.

It made me think back on all of the people who have come and gone into my life. Few had chosen to stay for good. They’d stick around for a while and then move on to the next big thing in life. Sometimes I wouldn’t even notice, other times it hurt and caused a slight bitterness.

We are meant to meet certain people. They are brought into our lives for a reason, and sometimes, that reason will never be completely clear to us. Sometimes we’ll never have the honest answers as to why those very people left us.

Each person you meet has something for you – an experience, a lesson, maybe something tangible. They prepare you for the next part of your life in ways that you may not even be able to fathom. They mold us into who we need to be in order to be ready for that next chapter. Maybe it’s a nudge we need in the right direction. Maybe it’s a small gesture that goes unnoticed, but when you look back, you can pinpoint it as one of the turning points in your life – something that makes you think, “wow, if that hadn’t have happened, I would not be the where I am today, being the person I am now.”

When people choose to leave us, we can’t take it personally. Their job is done. Our job is done. They have to move on to the next part of their lives and so do we. Everything happens for a reason, and so do people. You might say it’s a coincidence that you met this person, but when you put it in perspective that there are 7 billion people on a planet that is millions of years old, it becomes kind of amazing that your paths crossed. The truth is that most friendships have an expiration date on them, and that actually isn’t a bad thing at all. You grow and you better yourself and you change for the good, and sometimes people act as dead weight that you shouldn’t have to carry.

And whether you parted ways on good terms or bad, a little part of them will always be with you. Whether it’s an appreciation for a new TV show, a new sense of style or humor, or if they uprooted your entire life when they left, you keep it with you. You’ll still think of them at random times, but it’s because they were once a big part of your life.

it’s okay. It’s okay to miss them. It’s okay to leave them behind. It’s all a part of this journey, and even if you never fully understand it, just know that there’s a hidden purpose. No matter what, you’re going to come out of this okay because you knew that person, and that changed you, for good.

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