I’m not much of a collector of things. I have a small figurine collection that was built entirely because they were given to me. The same thing happened with a collection of unique salt & pepper shakers: I mentioned I’d like to start a collection & suddenly it was what everyone bought for me. But I decided that I am a collector of people. When I came to this realization I looked it up to see if it was a real thing? There are a few people with different takes on the concept but this is mine.
The general concept of collecting is to gather & cherish things of value. I have gathered so many valuable people throughout my life that I think I could consider them a collection of people. It started from the beginning of childhood. I remember family friends from when I was very young and I still try to keep in my sight, today. Childhood friends, family of any sort no matter how distant or far-removed, adult friendships from different places I’ve lived, high-school, college, former co-workers, – they all build this unique array of people who I cherish and value.
When people are new in my life they are front and center where I’m constantly aware of them, learning and seeing new details as time passes. Gradually, I get to know all their colors and am very aware of how their presence impacts me. But the very most important ones are those that came at great cost and sacrifice, either by myself or by someone who gifted them to me. Other special treasures are those that, old or new, have been present during significant seasons of life. They were just there, ready and willing to do their part.
For whatever reason, I lose some of my collection from time to time. Maybe there’s just been too many moving days – too much packing & unpacking and they have gotten lost in the shuffle. The risk of carrying extra baggage, I suppose. I remember what they look like and how I felt when I was with them, but it’s a bitter sweet memory, realizing the loss of something so valuable with such fondness. As much as I miss those people, it seems appropriate to add to the collection with new ones!
As a collector of people, I don’t posses them or own them. I’ve been rewarded with all their best qualities and learned a lot about grace. Any part of a collection has flaws that we have to overlook in order to see their real value to us, the collector. I don’t display them or show them off to one another and oftentimes they aren’t even in the same place at the same time, except in my heart.