09/06/2011 03:26 pm ET Updated Nov 06, 2011

Relationships: the Silver Thread

"From a spiritual perspective, we have come here to have relationships. Relationships are the vessels in which we travel toward a common destination, which is a greater realization of unconditional love. From the cradle to the grave and all along the way in between, it is the relationships we have that really make life worth living."
-- Excerpted from, "The Art of Being - 101 Ways to Practice Purpose In Your Life"

This past weekend I attended a memorial service of an old friend which was well attended and beautifully presented. I had a rather impactful realization I would like to share with you. As I sat and listened to the comments shared by the officiant and the companions and family members of my friend, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all of them -- including those I did not know.

The awareness I had in that sacred moment was that we were all interconnected by a single invisible silver thread. Because of the common connection we shared with our friend, in a heartbeat we were woven into yet another relationship, with one another, which was authentically intimate, peaceful and even joyful.

The result for me personally was a profound feeling of love and appreciation for my friend and every one of those in attendance. That feeling deepened even more as I thought about my wife Diane, our parents, our children and all of our other family members and friends -- both current and past. Again, I saw the one single invisible common thread linking us all called "relationship.'"

In that moment, I was again reminded that at the end of the day it's really all about relationships. Without relationships, life would be meaningless. From the strangers I chat with while standing in line at the market, to my most beloved family members (including my dog Mac) and everyone in between; without them I would not want to be here -- without those relationships life would be hollow.

I find it interesting that it would take my going to a memorial service to be reminded of this. Perhaps, like many things, we don't often think about what is most important to us until we are faced with losing it.

I have often said life itself is the ultimate gift from the creator. I would like to add to that by saying relationships are as well. We have each come here to have relationships because every time we connect with another human being it offers the infinite one another opportunity to express the love that it is, in, through and as that relationship.

Life is an amazing journey, isn't it? One day we show up here on the planet, coming from the invisible essence of infinite love. Our soul slips into a temporal vessel called a body in which it then traverses the human experience until it is time to go back to the divine ethers from which it came, at which point it vacates the vessel and returns home.

If we stop and consider our journey up to this moment, as we look back to the very first day we arrived here, we shall see that we entered into a lifetime of relationships. From the beginning, with our birth mother, followed by other family members, and then, literally every other person we have encountered along the journey, this thing called "our life" has been interwoven like a string of fine pearls on one single invisible silver thread called "relationship."

The poet and artist Flavia said something profound about relationships when he wrote, "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people stay for a while, and give us a deeper understanding of what is truly important in this life. They touch our souls ... we gain strength from the footprints they have left on our hearts and we will never be the same."

Every relationship we have, from our significant others, family and friends to our neighbors and coworkers, and even the occasional stranger we allow into our lives, all bear something in common: Each will leave "footprints" on our hearts. Those footprints may leave a positive or, in some cases, a negative impression but, in either case, each relationship brings with it an opportunity to learn more about generosity of spirit, forgiveness, compassion and love without conditions; how to give it, receive it and cherish it. That's why we have come here.

Cherish all the footprints on your heart. You wouldn't be who you are today without them. Be grateful for each one and don't wait until you don't have that relationship anymore to say, thank you for being in my life ... you made a difference.

Even if we have never met face to face, just by reading this post we are connected. So I thank you for being one of the pearls on that silver thread that unifies us one and all.