Who (besides Jesus) has been the most influential person in your life? Why? Or how did s/he influence you?
It is hard for me to pick just one person. People make such great impacts in our lives and three come to mind quickly (mostly for their negative influence) and one comes to mind in the shadows, for that seems to be where she has always been, that quiet consistency of love and provision. My mom has always been present and prominent in most things in my life, good and bad. When I think about the other people that come into mind, it amazes me how their role in my life could play such a large part in influencing me. One person's absence had a great influence in my life, or really, lack thereof, and I can see how I might have been different had that person been more present. The other person's one action had an immediate and considerable effect in my life and had underlying effects that I have slowly learned of over the many years since that event.
But I will settle on my mom as the most influential person in my life (besides Jesus, of course). Her influence has been most consistent, most present and most direct. The most important influence she has had on me was introducing me to Jesus at a very young age and putting me in the environments for me to build a foundational knowledge of God and the Bible. I will present the rest of her influences chronologically.
She encouraged me and gave me the freedom to be who I wanted to be (and to look like and to dress like how I wanted). She never talked negatively about my tomboy-ish nature, so for the most part, I felt secure in who I was. She encouraged and enabled most of my passions, so I was able to begin following my dreams. She taught me how to make the best pancakes. She did the best job anybody probably could have done at getting me through the big tragedy of my elementary school years. The way she handled that situation instilled in me a healthy concern for emotional health, which has helped me to handle well the difficulties that follow.
She started to become unavailable emotionally and I started to notice that I was missing something, though it was an unconscious awareness. It led me to seek out a relationship that had a great impact on how I viewed vulnerability and emotions (a person which I mentioned earlier). Because of her instability I experienced things and did things that matured me beyond my years.
She taught me how to drive a stick-shift. I continued to mature more than necessary for a teenager and I quickly learned how to be an adult, somewhat. Her instability increased and I took on more responsibility than I should have. It led to a poor understanding of boundaries and responsibilities in relationships, with which I still struggle today. She afforded me the opportunity to love deeply, but also to hurt greatly. The pain I experienced, partly from my relationship with her, caused me to harden my heart, which I am also still working on today.
I am who I am today greatly because of lessons she taught me directly and because of lessons I inadvertently learned because of her own problems and how they affected me. This is just a general snapshot of her influence in my life. I still learn many things from her and because of her, and I imagine she will always be the most influential person in my life.